Introduction To Game Localization – Michael Souto From Localize Direct

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Are you a fan of video games? Ever wondered how games are made and then localized? In this episode, Michael Souto from Localize Direct will share with you the challenges of game localization.

Michael knows the industry from both sides. He produced the Commandos series (my favorite genre) and currently works as the Business Development Director at Localize Direct.

Learn more about game localization and how the team at Localize Direct made the process easier. We also discussed:

  • How localization interferes with different stages of game development
  • What should you translate first on a limited budget
  • The trouble of localizing names for Commandos
  • How to use pseudo-localization for game localization
  • Why is QA important for Games As A Service
  • Do you have to be a gamer to work in game localization?
  • What is Gridly, the upcoming CMS from Localize Direct?
  • OCD from… a bowl?!

This is episode #30 of my social interaction practice, also known as The Localization Podcast 🙂 #localization​ and #translation​ insight delivered to you by the power of voice, this time with Michael Souto.


Andrej Zito 

Michael, welcome to the podcast.

Michael Souto 

Lovely to be here. Thank you very much for asking me.

Andrej Zito 

How are you doing here?

Michael Souto 

Yes, Wonderful. Wonderful. It’s so hot and delicious over here at the moment. And we’re obviously still all in lockdown. But what can you do about that? But, but I work from home anyway. So it’s not the end of the world. It’s just kind of it’s lovely, and warm. That’s just you know, it’s a bit upsetting whether or not you’re in work, or at your at home, when there’s people frolicking about outside and enjoying the sun, and you’re not. But it’s also my wedding anniversary today.

Andrej Zito 

Oh, really

Michael Souto 

 Delightful. So what

Andrej Zito 

you’re spending your evening with me,

Michael Souto 

I can’t imagine a nicer thing I could be doing, than than talking with you now having this call, but she’s out anyway. So it doesn’t really matter. So

Andrej Zito 

Is that, how you spend your anniversary, You’re doing a podcast and she’s out hanging out with friends.

Michael Souto 

She’s socially distancing in a park somewhere with some buddies, and having a glass or two of wine. And and I’m here with you not drinking wine, and just drinking water. So Well, yes, I’m sure she’ll come back and she’ll be suitably, what’s the right word? I probably shouldn’t use the word, I just say that she’ll be refreshed when she comes back as one would expect.

Andrej Zito 

Michael, can you quickly tell us what you do?

Michael Souto 

Indeed I am the business dev director for localized direct. And so part of that role is going to go into trade shows, which obviously isn’t really happening at the moment, just lots of kind of this online stuff going on. But yes, I’m probably going to those types of things kind of organizing what we want to do at those shows, getting all that kind of signed off and, and then attending those shows, and then also do a lot of the pm stuff and lots of the sort of pm in terms of receiving requests and sending those requests up for translation. And then also looking after lock direct and any support that might come from look direct, which is our own internally developed, CMS that’s being used at a lots of places like Warner Brothers and what have you,

Andrej Zito 

You are not only the BD director, you are also the co founder, right of the company from that,

Michael Souto 

 Yes, yes, indeed, we have three of us that kind of kicked, kicked it all off, we used to actually work together at idle. So these guys were either Sweden, and then when there was a purchase of an STI purchase back in the idle state, then I became the producer on the games that they were working on. And so we got to know each other, then we kind of understood that, you know, making games, you know, is complicated enough as it is, but we always found that working on the localization side of things or just created so much pain. And so you know, so kind of like when there was some reorganization at titles, and so the guys then kind of got together with me, and then we kind of discussed about, you know, kind of making a tool, and we always felt that kind of making a tool would be a really kind of strong thing to have, and would really kind of it would help so many people because we just wish that we had something that worked in in the way that our current system does. But yes, so we were all game devs understand the pain that people go through when trying to make games, and just how you know, they’re kind of parts of that pipe that we can kind of kind of streamline and make work in a much, much better way. And localization was definitely one of them. And you know, and we are looking at, you know, other parts of the process that we can try to kind of streamline as well. And that’s kind of coming up later on. And we’re going to be releasing something new soon.

Andrej Zito 

So just for the folks listening to this or watching this episode, Michael will be about game localization. So finally, I made it at least my first step into the game localization, talking to people from the game localization, because I’m not sure if you know, guys, but I’m a huge fan of video games I’ve been playing since I was young. And I’m still playing. I was playing Darkest Dungeon last night before I went to bed at night. So yeah, we will talk about this thing. So I’m wondering when you were still working at Eidos as a producer, and I think you were working on commanders, which is one of my favorites series. What were the options for localization back then when you said that it wouldn’t do the job as you would like it to do?

Michael Souto 

Well, the Wow, because I’ve worked on commandos and I’ve worked on timesplitters, and lots of other lots of other titles as well. And each time and unless it was from the same studio, each title would have a different kind of method, a different kind of system that they would use. And it was never kind of, apart from in the early days of it were in the early days in the days of the pirate studio stuff, so commandos and praetorians, and things like that, the the pirate guys actually created a tool as well, that would actually make the process a lot smoother as well and could actually update in in real time as well. So that was a wonderful tool. It was it wasn’t online at all, it was very much, you know, you used to have to send a packet each time that it was an update, but it just made things a lot smoother. But normally, it was Excel files, it was text files, it was all kind of really brutal, kind of trying to find word counts, trying to somehow version control, each of these kind of Excel files as they would go backwards and forwards, there was always kind of like a pain all the way through for all those years. And it didn’t know and you know, within itis we internally kind of worked on a tool as well. And but it’s always kind of one of those things that even when you work on something internally, you still you really need to kind of manage it, and you need to make sure you support it and update it regularly. And that was something unless you have an actual team doing that all the time, things very kind of readily fall away and become kind of, you know, bugs start become start becoming really prevalent in the system. So it’s really important for us to kind of say, Okay, so we’re making this tool, and this tool will be super supported, it’s going to be updated all the time, if you’re licensing from us, then we will make sure that the clients are always up to date. And so it’s really important to kind of say, we get that you don’t want to look after that, we will look after it. So you don’t have to worry about that at all. So working on these games was you know, it was just always kind of ended, you know, and back then. So I joined in 98. So this is between 98 and 2008. When I was working at idols, that you know that it was just, you know, lots of commercial at the count was been collecting sort of 16 titles, or whatever it was I worked on in that time. You know, they always had the same. Is this the last file? Is this the previous version, this, this changed, but this wasn’t updated properly. And you know, you thought you had so many different kind of moving parts. And then there’s moving parts when might go to different vendors for the translations. And you know, the Russian might come from bear, etc. So, you know, so yeah, there was so many things that could potentially go wrong and regularly did go wrong. And so this was a real kind of sticking point for us. But you know, in terms of languages, I mean, that, you know, that’s a very interesting thing as well that we’ve seen kind of that the number of languages and the language choices have grown so much since back then. So when we, I mean, it was basically it’s things and so things and that was kind of it, and then you might be at the sales or export sales guys might sign the deal for Russian maybe, or perhaps polish. But beyond those guys, it was rare that you know, you could potentially sometimes go into Japan, but then there was you know, that word, Japanese gamers, were they that keen in a lot of the Western developed titles. So there was that kind of thing going on as well. So yes, sometimes we’d have a Japanese version quite regularly, we a version would happen across our desks, that might be a Japanese version of commandos, and it’d be like, well, well, we had absolutely nothing to do with that. Okay, interesting. It’s like, the job, though, you know, it’s kind of like, okay, and if done, will there be, you know, the same would happen. So, it was one of those things was the hunt, you had to kind of get, you know, yet to kind of understand where the demand was for it. And then if there was like demand, getting there yourself, basically. So rather than just allow a Polish bootlegger to create Polish version is let’s let’s do a Polish version as well. And let’s see if that can financially make sense. But yeah, it’s I mean, it’s changed a lot. So now it’s Brazilian, and there’s Chinese and not you know, there’s so many languages now that are kind of being pushed, especially you know, on PC, you know, got to go into Russian You know, there’s a huge Turkish market you know, and there’s all these other all these other countries coming up as well. So that’s changed a lot since the old days of commandos two and commandos three and stuff, which I was going to actually wear one commando shirt and I thought no, no, come on. Now. This is too old.

Andrej Zito 

But I used to be in high school when I was in high school. No, I used to be in high school when I was Yeah.

Michael Souto 

Oh my goodness. I know. And so did you find it really difficult? I didn’t think it was that difficult.

Andrej Zito 

No, no, I really liked it. No.

Michael Souto 

Which levels which is level setting Did you play on which difficulty

Andrej Zito 

Wait there were difficulties? I forgot.

Michael Souto 

Yeah.

Andrej Zito 

I didn’t know because you have unlimited number of saving right and loading.

Michael Souto 

What used to have to save probably a million times.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, that was the genre quick save quick load, quick save quick load. Yes,

Michael Souto 

You get past one little section of wall safe. Oh my god, I can’t believe I’m beat that wonderful or you’d save it at just the wrong moment.

Andrej Zito 

Exactly. So as I understand, back then the situation was that there was no localization manager at Eidos. Every team had to do his own. There was?

Michael Souto 

No, no, no absolutely I say you’d have to I just there was a, you had the kind of localization kind of Overlord, she knows who she is. Hi. So yeah, so absolutely wonderful person. So anyway, so she would be looking after all the different localizations and dealing with the localization vendors, and that would all be going through that one person. But then then she might even have some people kind of some PMS working underneath her as well. And so those people would actually be the ones that would speak to the producers, and then understand what was what was coming from the localization package, make sure that there’s any kind of any potential risks are being mitigated and being discussed, you know, does does the development team understand that there needs to be a certain amount of space, because when it comes to localizing from English to German, or Spanish or whatever, it’s going to be a lot longer. So you know, making sure that the dev team are kind of have borne that in mind, and making sure that there’s gender flags, and there’s all kinds of things to ensure that, you know, things are being translated properly. So there was Yeah, so there was definitely I mean, I mean, is is was, you know, reasonably big company. So you definitely needed to have people in those in those roles. And so as a producer, it’d be very much a case of, I would just be making sure that we got all those ducks in a row and made sure that we kind of had those questions answered. And we had packed ready to go, and we were answering questions before, rather than being surprised by things later on and going, ah, this is broken the game or, you know, these, the way we were showing placeholders is really, really poor, or, you know, this number creation is really, really bad for Polish or Russian that have number requirements in their text. See, so there’s kind of answering all of these things before rather than after, but yeah, the localization manager would be the person that would say, this is not going to work, this is not going to work. And hopefully, the idea would be that the producer wouldn’t be able to have these questions, or you know, an already gonna be asking these things beforehand. So they’re kind of learning on the job as well. So I find that today that there’s so many, so many studios kind of, are being formed all the time. And there’s, you know, people that, you know, they are kind of doing a localization for the first time, and, you know, and you kind of go, these are the same thing, but, you know, I experienced kind of 20 years ago, and it’s like, ah, these things still happen. Why is this still happening? Yes, and maybe there doesn’t need to be, I think, maybe some, you know, so like, we learnt on the job back then is, you know, having that kind of those kind of tutorials that tell people, you know, okay, so these are the things that you’ve got to not do to make, you know, unless you want to have trouble at the very end, then don’t do these things. Because it’ll make everything work a lot and and in a much better way. So yes, it’s in tutorials or something, I don’t know, some kind of, you know, if it’s, you know, you know, obviously, you can go to university or college or whatever, and you can learn, you know, there are courses for this. And but for they’re very much kind of development based, rather than kind of process points within the within the process itself. So, I don’t believe that there is a kind of an actual localization part of a development program. So you know, so the ability to actually kind of say, like that. So this, these are the kind of usual problems. How are you making sure that you know, when you do eventually come to your full development, look after these things in advance, so it would be great to have those things happen, because at the moment is just the same stuff over and over again, it’s like, No, we don’t seem to have kind of moved along in terms of kind of knowledge base for the people who are starting to, you know, they’re making their first games. So yes, even I mean, when I go to these shows, I do, I like to, we have like to meet with current clients, kind of new clients. But I also like to spend some time with students, you know, who want to speak to me or want to kind of get some kind of person feedback. And regularly, you know, I’m going through code and kind of going, Wow, you know, you’ve left zero space for any other language to possibly fit in there, but just purely your three letter English abbreviation you’ve used there. It’s like, Whoa, okay, so it’s not scalable. What’s gonna happen here? And it’s like, we haven’t even thought about it, like, Oh, shit, okay, this is gonna be interesting. So, yeah, so it’s kind of, you know, it’s one of the things I like to do as well, because again, it’s, you know, people making the same kind of errors over and over again, can be mitigated and it should be

Andrej Zito 

Do you know, the term internationalization?

Michael Souto 

Yes. What about it?

Andrej Zito 

Describe to me I, we call it this internationalization when it comes to software localization, it’s really about educating the developers how they should create a software so then it’s easier to localize it.

Michael Souto 

Sure, sure

Andrej Zito 

I’m not sure if it’s just that term that’s not used for for game development.

Michael Souto 

No, no, it absolutely is. Absolutely. But I’m just I guess, but mine is the kind of Yeah, it’s an internationalization courses currently available, but I’ll be developed within the game development environment. I don’t I don’t know. I mean, the kind of conversations I have, I kind of it leads me to believe that maybe those things don’t exist because we encounter it so often. And I think that, you know, if it was something that was kind of in hand, then we wouldn’t kind of keep finding these things all the time. Well, you know, people are still actually putting text hard. They’re kind of like baking text into, into code itself. So they’ve got to somehow kind of go in there and pass all of that text out. So it can then be localized, without leaving stuff behind and creating all these kind of variables. And people are still doing that today. I mean, fair enough. If you’ve got things like unity, and you know that an unreal, they’ll work in it in a kind of different way and allow you to do that. But if you’re kind of, if you’re creating your own kind of engine, or you’ve created a kind of a part kind of a plugin or whatever, for an engine, then you know, that’s, if you’re not looking after that, to start off with when you when you try to localize it, it’s gonna be horrible. absolutely horrible. So yeah, so I think, I think it’s just that kind of sharing of knowledge is super important.

Andrej Zito 

Have you mapped or surveyed the people who come to you with this problems? Are they like their first time developers, and maybe they don’t even think about, like, eventually, I would like to localize my game, they just want to create something, and they just start and just go, and suddenly, they’re like, hey, by the way, maybe we should have this.

Michael Souto 

Yeah, yeah. All of a sudden, yeah, listen, they’ve made something and people start going, Hey, this is pretty good. You know, you should I think they’d like this in Japan. And they’re like, okay, that sounds great when you actually do that now. So yeah, there’s a real mix. I mean, the thing is, you know, the problems that people encounter, that can come from big companies, even, you know, because it might just be kind of a fairly kind of newish associate producer, or something that’s working in a big company. And, you know, they’ve not really had that exposure before. But yeah, we have a lot of, you know, kind of two, three person, dev teams, and one person 10 teams. And so you’ve got that one person who kind of might still be at university, and might still be kind of doing their course. And they’re just kind of going well, people seem to like this game. You know, I’m, I’m here to talk to publishers. And you kind of go, Oh, that’s great. Well, let me have a look at it. Because you know, if you sign with a publisher, then the likelihood is your publisher will pay for all the localization side of things, depending on what the deal is that they, that they, they work out. But let me have a look at it to kind of kind of give you an idea of what that kind of cost might be to you or to the publisher, depending on how you go. And I’ll have a look through and I’m going to give a bit of feedback on the kind of, you know, these are the things to look out for. But yes, so yeah, it’s a regularly they are, you know, guys that have this is their first thing, and they’re still in London University, or whatever. And they’re kind of saying, okay, so people say, this is cool. What do I do next? And it’s like, okay, let’s, let’s go over here and take a step back. Now, but we get there, and it’s kind of like, and it’s really great. Some, you know, you get some really kind of, you know, this when you get things like, Oh, I had no idea about that, or, you know, this is completely first time I’ve ever heard of this, and you kind of go brilliant, you know, so if nothing else happens today, then this person’s kind of view, this kind of person is kind of life potentially, has changed from this one kind of small conversation that we’ve had, because they had no idea, but which is kind of which is a bit crazy as well, but just had no idea how big steam was in Russia. And it’s kind of like, Okay, so this was like, Oh, I had no idea it was actually so massive, but it’s like, yes, you must if you have a steam game, if you have a PC game, you must go into Russia. And then but then if you do that, then obviously you need to be careful about how you then handle all of that localization, which is then the next part of the conversation, which is kind of like don’t have numbers, you know it within a sentence, because numbers themselves have to be treated in a very different way to to other other elements. But that’s for another podcast.

Andrej Zito 

Probably. Yeah. I’m still curious, do you guys have any, let’s say concentrated effort and initiative to educate young developers when it comes to localization?

Michael Souto 

Well, we don’t-we try. We kind of we always kind of when there’s a talk when there’s a show, and what we find is that a lot of shows that we go to, there are, you know, plenty of you have big companies, you have band eyes, and you know, whatever it might be rebellions. So there’s all these kind of big guys. But then there’s tons and tons of very, very small guys and students, there’s always loads and loads and loads. And so what we always try to do, we always try to kind of offer to do a talk on localization and what those pitfalls are And you know, it’s great. You know, when we do do those talks, you see kind of heads around the room like nodding, or kind of kind of going, Oh, you know, I had no idea. And so, you know, that’s, you know, really, you know, really rewarding when you see that kind of thing going on. But, but yeah, so that’s the thing. So we don’t actually have a well it’s funny.

Andrej Zito 

For some reason, I just imagined like a bunch of people, as in The Sims game. And just when you talk about localization, they kind of like, you know, it goes,

Michael Souto 

Global appears. Yeah, yeah,

Andrej Zito 

Like level leveled up

Michael Souto 

smiley face. Yeah. Yeah, level up.

Andrej Zito 

Sorry, go on.

Michael Souto 

Nice, fine. And then I plaster over the door, so they can’t escape. And then they and then they get very upset.

Andrej Zito 

I used to throw them into a pool, and then you take out the ladder so they can drown. It’s just beautiful, right?

Michael Souto 

Yeah. I am God today. I won’t even talk about this kind of things that we did. I mean, yeah, just you just you were just so awful. When you’ve when you’ve been a fair game first came out, you were like, right, what is what’s the worst stuff I can do to this poor person? And yeah, moving the ladder from their pool. It’s kind of like, swimming around. But yeah, so that’s the thing. If you remove if you have a room, and you remove the door from the room, then obviously, no good can come from that. And then you just use you watch this kind of deterioration happen over the period. Yeah, there’s lots of very unhappy, sad faces, and crying. But anyway, we should carry on. So yeah, so it’s not like the Sims. That was pre COVID. Right? You knew all the way. Back at home? What can happen? What can happen with my dog and my dog? So yes, so it’s like going to the shows and doing these talks, that’s what we do. So we don’t have any kind of official kind of seminar or anything, like that kind of tutorial ourselves that we created. And maybe that’s something we could potentially do. But we just think that, you know, you know, especially, you know, going to the shows when we are except because it’s the, you know, localization within gains, until probably, you know, until fairly recently, where people have just, you immediately see this direct relation to increase in sales to localizing until, you know, we’ve been able to, you know, in recent times have that very kind of clear bomb, you know, that’s what’s happened here. That’s, you know, when we potentially released it, and it didn’t have that language. And now it’s got the language bang. And you see, you see that in Greece, back in the day, you’d have to really kind of fight to kind of make localization makes sense. Because back then a lot of people maybe were more accepting of having your game in English, and they would just kind of try to play as much as they could, because that’s just what everyone did. But the more and more people supported other languages, than the more obviously, the expectation becomes the rule. And so you people want to play in French people want to play in German, if you you know, if you tried to release a box product, and it wasn’t in French, then French people just wouldn’t want to pick it up. You know, unless it was like a GoldenEye or something. But even if even a golden I haven’t struggled,

Andrej Zito 

Do you think it’s because games became more mainstream and more casual?

Michael Souto 

No, I think I think it’s more to do with formats. I think it’s, I think it’s still, if you had commandos, for example, and you didn’t localize it, there’s so much text in there. But the text is very much, you know, kind of narrative. Because, you know, when you look at the levels themselves, it was very kind of clear, you know, okay, so you’ve got these three team members. And so you know, with those three team members, one’s gonna blow stuff up, one’s gonna swim, blah, blah, blah, right? So you knew, okay, so he’s going to have this kind of set of tools. And I’m going to have to get from here and kill a number of Nazis to get to the other side of the map. And then, and I know, it’s all good. Now, it’s all good. So, yes, so you would have to do that. So I think language, there wasn’t the be all and end all because it wasn’t driving this kind of Zelda type narrative that, you know, you really had to kind of kind of get involved in, or, you know, or lost device or whatever. So I think it’s more a case of, you know, casual games, fine. You know, you might have a match three games. And, you know, in which case, you know, how important is localization, it might be more important, because of the fact that there were so many different types of people playing it. I mean, I had friends that actually used to a number of friends that used to buy Japanese games, totally in Japanese, and play it and just, you know, just really kind of work out what what was what was happening. And they that’s how they used to just love playing games. And so but so yeah, there’s without like, the super hardcore. I think that, you know, a lot of these games, there’s this simplicity. I think it’s more a case of its platform. It’s kind of requirement. There’s a lot of children’s games out there that there never were before do games that would be kind of played by children. Back in the day. Just it was it never really happened. So now you have to ensure that the children no children aren’t going to be fluent. In English at eight years old, see that stuff needs to be localized. And so I think it certainly I think, you know, back in the day, you know, maybe maybe it could be a case of, you know, there were, there were lots of games that weren’t so kind of hardcore. But I think that platforms and the kind of the availability of gaming to people has driven that localization, I think that more and more people kind of want to play games and want to kind of understand those games. And I think that, I think there’s a report where something like 45% of people will not buy a game, unless the metadata itself is, you know, is understandable. And so if you’ve got high language proficiency, then it’s maybe not the end of the world. But you know, if you’re trying to release it into a low proficiency, proficiency territory, and it’s not and your metadata itself, so you might have a match three game, but if the text itself that metadata doesn’t explain what kind of game it is, and you can usually discern a match three from the screenshots, but you know, if they, you know, if they don’t, even if they can read it, so if I see something that appears in an alphabet that I don’t understand, I will regularly just go next, I’ll just move on to the next one. Next one next one until I have the language that I’m expecting to see. So you mentioned there must be so many people losing money as a result of just not just translating the or localizing The, the meta text. And so that’s a real shame. And so again, this is kind of a, an educational thing as well. I was saying before, that, you know, people just think, Oh, well, everyone speaks English. It’s like, no, people really don’t. A lot of people speak English, but a lot of people don’t speak English, and especially kids, etc. So you need to be able to reach those people in some way.

Andrej Zito 

And at the same time, my experience when I was growing up, the games were an opportunity and a great way to learn English.

Michael Souto 

Sure, sure.

Andrej Zito 

I’m so lucky. So you know, if you’re playing games, like Balder skate, or there’s a lot of text and narrative, the show is there, then you just pick up a dictionary and just go over it to make out of words without understanding the story. Like, it’s not gonna get much value.

Michael Souto 

I’d imagine that not many games came out in your language.

Andrej Zito 

Yes. I don’t know, you know, back then, like you said, it’s about the accessibility back then there was no steam, it wasn’t as easy as just downloading things.

Michael Souto 

Sure.

Andrej Zito 

And if you wanted to buy like a regular game, like we didn’t have money for that.

Michael Souto 

Yeah, it’s gonna be super expensive.

Andrej Zito 

Yes, yes. Yeah.

Michael Souto 

Another thing I mean, I remember kind of, you know, things have, you know, the consoles, etc, become so much more affordable than they were back then. I remember, you know, I started out on that spectrum, all those years ago, and that was just horrifically expensive. And you have to save, you know, for a long time to be able to get this. And then when you actually play it, you think it’s, like, basically, this is this is magic, is simply magic. And it was the price point was of that magic level. So it was kind of like, you know, this is wonderful stuff. So but now, you know, people can play on their phones, you know, you know, and it’s kind of, you know, it’s at least things are multi use as well. So you’re not just buying a thing that you can play a few games on, or maybe learning bit bits of basic on. So it’s kind of now it’s gonna be can do so much stuff, you know, so, so yeah, so So, you know, with the kind of the penetration of mobile phones is just amazing. And I remember having this conversation with people at idas years ago, when when mobile games were kind of just starting to kind of do and it wasn’t just playing snake, or you know, something like super super bass, even though now snake is like one of the most popular games. But don’t worry about that. Really. Yeah. But you know, like, sneak high Oh, and all that kind of stuff. It’s like, absolutely massive. And, you know, it’s basically the concept hasn’t changed in, you know, 25 years. But anyway, so. So you’re having this discussion and kind of really kind of thinking, is this really gonna work? You know, is this really the future? And kind of you kind of look back on this conversation, and you can have go, Wow, that was short sighted. I remember, a couple of people within the Office, just go, No, this is money here. Right here money right here. And we would just kind of go, yeah, I’m just not sure. I just not sure not sure. And yeah, we go back. We have these conversations after all these years going, Wow. You know, that was on the money right there. But yeah, there you have it.

Andrej Zito 

What I would like to do now, Michael, because you have the experience producing and created game creating games. And now you’re on the localization side. So what I would like to do with you is if you could somehow briefly matter if you can do it briefly walk us through the process of game development from the early idea. And if you could also pepper it with how localization interferes at different stages, because so far, we only mentioned that somebody sends an Excel sheet with the strings for translation, but I hope that that’s not the only case where localization helps.

Michael Souto 

Well, like I said, it helps Or hinders, or becomes what? Because that’s the thing. So that was one of the things I was gonna say before and I moved away from it. But back then, it was a real case of Oh, do we really have to localize that was really it was always met with huge amounts of reluctance. It’s like, Ah, you know, and if you know, if somebody then said, Oh, you know, you actually, we’re not going to do the Italian because the numbers are low or whatever, you’re brilliant, you know, we don’t have to do Italian. It’s kind of like, ah, because because it was just like, Oh, this was just adding time, you know, every single version then had to be QA, they all had to all have to kind of go through this kind of really hard process. And then, so yeah, so you kind of didn’t want to do it back then. And now I think the more more people can go, yes, we should do this. I must, I must point out that I regularly found that the Americans were very against it. They were like and put it out in English, but it should be fine.

Andrej Zito 

Everybody understands English, right?

Michael Souto 

Yeah, exactly. Everyone understands English. So um, yeah. So that was the thing. So but yeah, so going through the process itself, and how localization kind of meets certain points. I think that, you know, kind of the, when you’re kind of when you’re developing, obviously, that you start off and you start maybe with the, you know, a design document, yeah, maybe like a, a short document, kind of just outlining kind of like a few pages of the kind of game, it’s going to be, you know, can you kind of elevator pitch it to say that, you know, it’s Grand Theft Auto in space, or whatever it might be, or it’s or It’s wild west commandos, or whatever it is. So, so the idea is that you’ve got like a very kind of brief kind of overview, you know, what makes it special, what’s going to be really cool about it, and then a kind of a kind of an outline of how long, you know, you kind of initially think it’s going to take to make it, what’s the kind of budget involved. And so we’ll kind of like top top super level stuff. And then from that point, if if you get like tracks so that-

Andrej Zito 

Do you do at the stage as a producer, or they think about having the game localized? Or like in which markets, it would make sense to sell it?

Michael Souto 

Ah well, back then? I mean, I’ve been out of the game for 10 years. Now, maybe, maybe that’s our consideration at this time. But yeah, certainly, I think that, you know, because of the way games have become far more kind of global than they used to be is very much a case of used to make a game and kind of go, okay, will this work in other territories? And then you kind of go from that point, but maybe, you know, maybe their conversations now more along the lines of Okay, so we’re making this game. Now, we could make it maybe maybe that would be slightly too early, potentially, maybe it would be at the next kind of the next stage. But maybe there’s the need to kind of say, Well, actually, we can ensure that the way that we make this game is that we can then re skin it in a number of different ways that will then make it super attractive, to coincide with other kind of other national holidays, or whatever it might be in different countries. So maybe, you know, then that makes it even more interesting that if you can say, Okay, so we’re going to make this in a very kind of read easily we skinnable way. And that’s why I’m saying that maybe that’s more of a concern, or maybe more of a consideration now, where you are easily kind of pushing updates and versions to phones, whereas back then, you know, it was on a disk. And it’s kind of like, wait, so now we’re going to do Chinese Singles Day version. It’s like, No, you can’t do that. It’s kind of like, Okay, so let’s just run that through PlayStation again. So yeah, so you couldn’t read yet, then. But you can do that now. So, so yeah, so I think that certainly, you could probably have those discussions now, to kind of say, these are the kind of this specific versions we can make for different territories? Or how you know, or, again, you know, probably it would need a localization person or, you know, seasoned producer to really kind of jump in quite early to say, Okay, well, you know, I think there is the potential here, I think this kind of all, you know, because back in the day, it would be more a case of, I’m going to make a game, that’s going to be a side scroller shoot, with a ship, and little kind of balls will appear on the side, and they’ll spin round, and you’d be able to shoot from them and stuff. And then people go, Oh, that’s a bit like our type. Oh, that’ll be good in Japan, then. And you kind of go, oh, okay, then we’ll maybe it will be and then that would be the consideration of, Oh, this game could be good in Japan, it wouldn’t be a case of what can we do to the game to make it interesting in Japan, because there would be a lot of cost associated, and then the whole kind of splitting release and on, you know, that’s just a big headache required, unless the game is going to be massive. So yes, I think that, you know, certainly you can, maybe not so early in development, but you know, certainly kind of to the next when you go to like the gdd, which is the game design document, when you actually have a fully fleshed out, this is what the mission structure is going to be. This is the kind of the the story arc behind the game. This is the technical answer, you didn’t have a TDD as well as the technical design document, which will then break down how it’s actually going to be put together. So this is also very much paperwork based because obviously, it’s much easier to throw away a paper than it is to spend loads of money and actually create In creating the code, so yeah, so then once that gdd is kind of signed off, in principle, and the TDD venue would then move on to the next step, which is then trying to then show kind of like a proof of proof of life. So yeah, proof of concept. So yeah, so he would then kind of go into, right, okay, let’s put some lists together, you know, basic, you know, fairly basic, and then actually, then, then take that to potentially a board meeting, or whatever it is to then get those guys to sign off on it. I mean, without coming, and then, you know, at that stage, there could be some localization discussions at that point there, where you starting to talk about, you know, where could this go, but again, this is kind of stuff from like, kind of command those times or, you know, you know, sometimes, actually, the language list that you’re given is one that is regularly kind of pushed, or kind of, like enforced, as it were. So if you want to be featured on the, on the App Store, for example, you need to have a certain number of localizations. So yes, that’s going to be Oh, so these days is not a case of Actually, I just want to do it in English. In French, it’s kind of like, No, you need to do in English, French, German. So yeah, so the actual kind of, but when the actual kind of, not just concept kind of work is required, then that would certainly follow on later. So if, for example, you’ve reached your first playable, you might be putting together like a demo for a trade show, which we have done in the past. So it would just be like a super stripped, stripped down version. And you might want to then do a version for Gamescom, for example. So in that case, you might then want to have a German version to show the press against calm. And so you know, because obviously, if you can have that there, and that’s going to appeal, so long as the localization is good, if it’s terrible localization, and you’re showing it to a German press member, then obviously, they can think, well, this is crappy. So yeah, so you might then have some localization requirement in at that point, as well. But certainly, before you get to first playable, there will already be the localization team, the localization manager, and whoever is kind of involved in that will already be involved at that point. Because that person will be saying, right, have you thought about this? Have you done this? Have you got this? How are you going to be presenting us with the text? And then that then goes back to the development team? And then you can then say, right development team? How are we going to be sending this text to two idols for translation? And then at that, you know, it could be at that point that kind of like, Arduino is like, wow, would you be there? No. So see, so you kind of asked at that point, right? Okay, you need to be thinking how we’re stripping all this text out, which kind of takes it you know, which is kind of where you know, where we come from, on that whole kind of block direct side of things. And why we created that is that the development guys are creating text in lock direct. So it’s never kind of so it can be, it can be pulled out, it can be pushed in, it can be all traveling, but it’s living in one place. And that’s something we didn’t have before. So that was the whole kind of the key behind it. So yeah, so what what that kind of gets rid of is that question of, so how are we getting the text? Because it’s very simple, not direct, or you know, if it’s a different system, or whatever, it’s kind of very simple to say, this is how the text is going to arrive. Bosch. But then obviously, there’s all the other questions of is gender an issue? You know, do we have how much dialogue do we have? What’s the cost associated? Are you going to get a voice recording to all languages? Are we just going to go for French in it, and German, you know, and blah, blah, blah, all these types of questions are all asked. So that happens super early on as well. So yes, it’s still super early, these things are kind of happening, but they’re not really kind of interfering too hard. in the, in the development to kind of process so people are still generating assets, doing all the codes, kind of making sure it works, you know, and, and ensuring that the game is the best game that it can be. But so yeah. So then as you then as they, as you continue through the process, then you get to the point where it’s like, right, okay, now we need to kind of understand, you know, what the text is going to be like, so let’s get an example of the file you’re going to create, again, not really an issue with us, because of what we’ve done. But back then it would be right. Okay. So here’s an example here, that localization people would have a look at the example and go, this is terrible, this is not going to work for us. This needs to be revised, right? So blah, blah, blah. But usually, what would normally happen is, you know, again, you kind of you always wanted, and it was a luxury very, very rarely had, but you always kind of wanted to not to localize until you got to beater where the content was locked. Because, you know, the game is still being worked on the game is still being kind of thoroughly QA and there’s still a lot of change, until you get to that beta point. And to be honest, you know, a number of times you can get to, you know, what you think is a beta. And then it’s still, you know, a month down the road before you actually really do hit beta. So, yeah, so you really don’t you want to kind of leave it for as long as possible, but I’ve worked on projects before where we’ve had to have the localization sent out before beta because the timeline was so kind of so crushed. And that was always a nightmare, because then you are reaching that point where, you know, this has been translated, this hasn’t been translated, this has been updated, this hasn’t been updated. You’ve got all this stuff, and you’ve got it in an XML file. And it’s like, oh, my God, you know, you just want to kill people, because it’s kind of you have you have an XML file with 17 different colors, five different tabs. And it’s like, okay, so who updated it last? It’s like they’ve updated it. Like, Dave, what did you update? I don’t know what it is, like? Why Why so? So yeah. So. So you really want to leave that present as late as possible, ideally? Or when when when kind of big lumps of content a lot. So that’s absolutely fine. But so I have no problem with actually localizing earlier, just so long as people are aware that, of course, as you’re doing it, you may will make some changes. The problem was, it just it was never controlled in an effective way. And that’s, that’s always been the problem is like, Fine, let’s, let’s, if you’ve got 60,000 words, you don’t really want to wait until that bita point to actually start translating that, because that’s quite a lot of words. So you’re going to have to kind of like really kind of push this through quickly. If you if you’ve got locked areas, then yes, why not? Let’s localize these as we go. But so long as we only do that, so long as we know, what’s changing as we’re going through, rather than like going back to the 17. Color Excel file. So when so yeah, so that’s the thing is just having that process in place. So we didn’t have that back then. So yes, a bita, which I believe as long as possible, then, you know, by that, at that point, you’d be going into the the the studio, if you’re going to the studio to record voiceover, then that’s obviously that’s it, you know, there could while the video Well, the recordings happening, you can actually still be making changes in the game. And then there’s and there might be things that are being picked up by by QA, you know, this doesn’t know if you go from A to B, actually, that doesn’t really work, there needs to be like an A one step to explain to the player how you’re going to get to B. So we need to kind of create some new audio at that point there. Otherwise, it’s going to make no sense. And so you know, you’ve then got to go back to the studio, I mean, the word pickups when they, when, when it’s and anytime I’ve ever encountered them was never greeted with any happiness whatsoever. It was greeted with I want to kill you, Mike, when when would be a good day to do this. Because I want to do it now. So, so yes, that was always like a really kind of tragic thing. Because then because of course, you’re going to so many different countries, you’ve got so many different languages. And then you know, from all those languages, you’ve got studio tight, you know, the studios might be full, the students might not be able to just take you straight in and record it and then be done. The actor might not be available, because especially with commandos we used to for the German version, we always use really famous actors. So I think that the voice for for butcher was was the day that used to voice Arnold Schwarzenegger in in Germany. So he was like a really well known person. So when the German players heard butcher, they’d be like, Whoa is the guy that does Arnie so that you know, there would be a real club like wow, this sounds so cool. Identify it might not work for everyone.

Andrej Zito 

Sure in commandos?

Michael Souto 

Yeah. You know,

Andrej Zito 

What did I miss?

Michael Souto 

Yeah. BUTCHER the tiny, tiny, tiny that the green raised?

Andrej Zito 

It’s pie, right?

Michael Souto 

Yeah. The in commandos, there was this decision made, which I was never a big fan of. But butcher is the American name. I know. So butchers the green. Yeah, the green raise. So he was butcher in the UK and then he was tiny. And that was it. I think it’s tiny in America.

Andrej Zito 

I see. I see. So the main character I the green, very

Michael Souto 

Nice, tiny McHale butcher O’Hara tiny ahora which I just tried to see which one makes which one reads in my head. I think it was tiny in America is a tiny McHale. And then it was butcher O’Hara in in the European version or in everywhere else. Just America was different. I know. Tell me, so you must have been playing the American version.

Andrej Zito 

I only know him as greenberry are we talking about?

Michael Souto 

You mustn’t. You didn’t have your dictionary out. Way gold. Yeah,

Andrej Zito 

Like his real name was in the game.

Michael Souto 

In the game? Yeah. In the game. greenberry. You’ve got the sapper. You’ve got the spy.

Andrej Zito 

Yes. Yes.

Michael Souto 

 And but they actually have names themselves. Yeah, they will have names, though. Yes. So you got tiny McHale and butcher Ohara. I’m going to I will kind of Google this up in a minute. It’s been so long since I’ve come into contact with these boys.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, for some reason when you say tiny. It reminds me of the of the guy from commandos 2 the little one that was very agile. That’s good.

Michael Souto 

Yeah. Yeah, that was that was the The thief

Andrej Zito 

TPS,

Michael Souto 

Yeah, so jack O’Hara Chikara or Jerry McHale in commandos two men apart. Yes. So it was jack O’Hara in the UK and Jerry McHale in in the US. So yeah, so anyway, we digress. This is about localization because a call was made, you know, back on commandos, one, that they felt that the US office felt that it would be stronger to have different names for the commandos in America. So actually, that’s a very valid localization point. But what it did was, it created all kinds of headaches later, because I was I was always such a massive fan of having something in the box. And it didn’t work for me the problem with code as well, because the code, you would have, like a panel that would then have the name of the character. And so if we had to, therefore have a US version of the code, and then an everywhere else version of the code. And so that was a pain in the butt. But also, so I used to love to put like, a poster or something in all the, in all the boxes, with all the box copies. And so we used to so we had one that had the different commandos all kind of laid out, and it would have their names on there as well. So they have two versions of that as well. And it’s like, oh, whose idea was this? And we just have two, two different web like two wholly different websites, because of this, as well as like, ah, whose idea was this anyway? So that’s the thing. So yes, you do get those those things happening, too, which is really fun.

Andrej Zito 

Another thing that I didn’t get was, you mentioned the word pickups. I only know this in relationship to the ladies. So what does it pick up mean? When it comes to voice recording? Is it like,

Michael Souto 

Well, it’s been even longer for that side of things for me. So yes, a pickups when you’d have to go back into the studio. So it’s just a purely a case of when you know, some audio has changed or some string has changed, and you to go back into the studio to pick up and not necessarily to pick up females, but to pick up females or males or whatever. unrelated, unrelated.

Andrej Zito 

Okay, so where did we get to we get to beta, right?

Michael Souto 

Oh, yeah, we got to beat Yes. So that point, then you’re going through, you’re going to do pickups and whatever. And then hopefully, you’re kind of building towards your kind of your master your master candidate. And so the master can get you there, you kind of be tested to make sure it complies with all the, with all the the certification requirements for PlayStation, Xbox GameCube, or whatever it was at the time. And so then you’d go through all those, and then you’d hopefully then hit that green, golden master. And yeah, so back in the day with that would involve having to drive down a motorway or something in the UK, or, you know, like, three in the morning or something, so that you can then get on to a plane bound for Switzerland or whatever. Austria rather. And so, so yeah, so that was kind of you got to that gold Master, then, you know, you’d, you’d hope that everything that needed to be found would be found, and you’d have been like a great version, obviously, that’s now changed dramatically to where we are today where you can just, you know, continually iterate. And now we are very much at that kind of gains as a service kind of model where you’re just kind of releasing weekly updates all the time, you’re kind of you’re releasing new packs of content, you know, it’s so simple to do this. Now, compared to what it was like, in the past, in the past, having a patch was deemed as an almost a criminal offense, because it kind of meant that you shipped your game with problems in it. And these days, you know, having a patch is just cool. You know, it’s not really necessarily called a patch. It’s just called like a an update, or whatever it might be. And so that can have, you know, bug fixes and things which is well received. But usually it will have bug fixes, but also some tweaks on you know, somebody might say that the ogre isn’t too too powerful compared to the Knights or whatever. And so you’ve got those tweaks going on too. But also, we’ve released the new vandal pack, or whatever it is, and then people like the new vandal pack, I’ve been waiting for this. So yes, it’s a great kind of communities being built in this games as a service has just become such a massive thing now where you don’t just hit that gold master and say, boom, it’s gone. Go salespeople go salespeople may do well, maybe well, and then and potentially work on a patch to kind of fix things that you might then find after that gold master has gone into production. So yeah, so now you can kind of go Okay, so there are these things, you know, but that’s because we especially love It’s so neat with the platform holders, you’d have to you’d have a slot that you would have to kind of hit by so that you could then release because it would take a certain amount of manufacturing time to then then hit the shelves and then kind of distribution. So yeah, so that’s obviously not really a consideration anymore because there’s very little kind of physical Media, I mean, obviously, there’s still, you know, big things that come out spider man got a wall Last of Us. So there’s still those kind of big titles that still need to hit the shelves. But now because it’s because of the enormity of the mobile market and the kind of the regular kind of updates that can happen, as far as you know, with, you know, things now, because again, back then, there wasn’t that kind of broadband penetration that would allow kind of these kind of big updates to just kind of be straight, you know, streamed in, only take 10 minutes to download and update. Back then it would be like, okay, so if we, if we released like, 100 meg, patch online people with like, 100 Meg? G, what? This is so enormous like wow 100 meg, but yeah, so, so now, it’s just so fast that you can kind of drag this stuff and a lot of time, if there is if I’m playing something on my phone, and there is an update, more often than not, that updates happened within five seconds. And you don’t really give it you know, don’t care. It’s only when you open the game and they change something. And you’re like, why did you change it, that’s when the problem comes in. It’s like, Oh, I like this mechanic, now you’ve changed it, which happened just the other day with a game that I’ve been playing a lot. I won’t say what the name of the game is. But I played it a lot. And they completely changed the inventory, kind of mechanical that they had, which totally ruined it for me, which so it’s kind of like, Ah, so you kind of you post a little message, then say, Oh, you know, you’ve changed it for me. But now you’re in a position now to kind of go actually, everyone has complained about this. So now we can go back and change that again. Whereas again, back in the days, when we were localizing back, then that would just be a complete nightmare. So it wasn’t possible. So I think, you know, there’s so many kind of brilliant things, in terms of kind of gameplay and kind of tweaks and that games as a service kind of side of things. But also that the brilliance of being able to cater things for very specific individual markets as well, I think it’s just absolutely phenomenal. So you know, just the ability where you might will have the, you might have one game when it sells particularly well to at 18 to 25 year olds in in one in one territory. And then you might find this really popular within the plus 30 range in another country. And so you can look at that and look at you know, well, should we then cater what we’re currently kind of working on for maybe that whatever. So maybe just to make it even can have a larger kind of gap. So if you make it like if this game is super popular with 60 plus years old, and then in another territory is enjoyed by teenagers, you might then want to change the balancing somewhat, to then make it maybe slightly easier. Or so some of the times required to complete some levels make it slightly easier for those people because the demographic that’s coming back is of a higher is an older demo. So yeah, so again, so the ability to kind of tweak and Tinker and kind of change these things around is absolutely phenomenal. So some very, very jealous of that. So yeah, so yes, that’s post release a press release, there’s plenty of luck considerations much more post release, than there would be much earlier in the in the process. I think there’s, like I said before, there’s there’s certain things you need to look at, I think, you know, there are there are companies that actually specialize in looking at looking at code or looking at potentially kind of just the the product plan of you know, what’s going to be contained in the game. But certainly, certainly when it’s kind of early code levels would be the time when a lot of these people would be involved. But really kind of identifying. This is going to be a problem in Germany, like it used to be with swastikas, etc. So this is gonna be Germany. This is going to be a problem. Yeah. So there was Yeah, there’s another version. Obviously there was the non swastika version of commandos for Germany, of course. And so. So yes, so you’ve got kind of the the different, the different code types, the different releases, and I completely forgot where I was going with this, which is kind of what happened because you have to start thinking about commandos.

Andrej Zito 

Yea.

Michael Souto 

It just slipped me right out.

Andrej Zito 

Put you right back on track, because we have already shipped the game. And we are talking about post release. But I think we haven’t talked about localization testing.

Michael Souto 

No. Okay, so we’ll come come back to test in a second. Because they just reminded me what the point I was getting at. Sorry, yes, how? And so going back to this whole kind of globalization, kind of the game mentalization. You know, so people will kind of say, okay, so there’s a problem with this number of fingers on your character, or there’s a problem with flags, you know, any kind of, they’ll look through it and say, you know, are there Chinese flags in here? You know, you have to be particularly insensitive. Are there any kind of political references in here? So you’re arguing that there are teams of people that will actually look at the code itself, or the plans have the code and say, Okay, this cannot happen. You know, if you’re planning to have a torture scene in this game, then this is going to be a real problem, kind of at this point here. I mean, I’ve worked on a bunch of games. Where I’ve had producers around me kind of, and they weren’t aware that there’d be a horrific torture scene. And then basically, zero in Japan just went, there is no way this game can come out over here. and Japan was an important territory for that particular title. It was like, Ah, okay, so that’s a real nightmare. So, um, yes. Okay. So there are people that will kind of that will spend that time and kind of give that feedback, especially for gamers. But then, I think because of the classification of games in Germany, that’s why that whole swastika thing kind of kind of went away, which is a great thing, but obviously a bit too late for commandos at the time. Right. So, localization, QA, of course, massively important, but that’s the thing. That was the kind of the, like I was saying before about, like people kind of back in the day didn’t want to localize because they were like, ah, then we have to do luck, QA as well. And they look QA, they don’t find just the same bug in German, French, Italian, each one is its own kind of localized version that has to be tested completely individually. And so yes, that was kind of like, you know, you just had to do it, you’d kind of be kind of really didn’t want to do it. And it was a pain, because you were just thinking about just getting the box version, you know, the English version out there and done. And that’s why it would have been nice to have kind of staggered it. But that was never possible, because financial quarterly decisions, or quarterly numbers had to be met, of course. So you just didn’t have that kind of that flexibility. But yeah, so. So you would then have that quarter, you need to hit fantastic news, you’d have your localization that kind of went through there kind of the cycles. But now I think that that whole kind of localization QA thing is, is you know, everyone understands that, if you’re going to spend the money to, to localize it into that into that language, then it makes no sense to just shove it out there. Because you want people to have a great experience. Because if you’re selling games as a service, if your first drop is filled with, with errors, then your games as a service model isn’t going to continue working, because people are going to drop, you know, without even seeing that kind of next update the next update that comes on because they’re going to be like, well, this is terrible. So why should I continue to kind of invest my time in in playing this? There’s a million other games that could be playing right now. So yeah, so that I think a lot of people are far more kind of understanding of the need to do localization, QA and data. And a lot of people they will kind of, they won’t even do just regular QA. So you know, you kind of think, wow, you know, if if you’re not going to do regular QA, the Oh, you might, you know, you might have some people that would look at QA as, I’ll just get a couple of my mates to try it out. It’s like, Okay, well, great. And that would have been nice for some feed, you know, feedback kind of stuff. But that’s never going to tell you about what the compatibility is like across different machines. What’s it going to be like, across different hands, against different devices? You’ve got so many other things that QA does not just play the game. But certainly playing the game is a massively important thing, and you need to get hours and hours of it. So you can’t really say to your mate, oh, Dave, would you mind spending 72 hours cos solidly playing my game? Like, yeah, I can do but and you know, a lot of these people, they’re not a proper kind of QA technicians, you know, QA specialists, you know, this, this is a skill, this isn’t something, you can just kind of pick up a game and just going to go with it, you need to be able to report bugs properly, you need to be able to kind of find bugs efficiently. So, yeah, so I think that, you know, a lot of people do kind of go, Oh, well, you know, we’re just going to soft launch it, and then that’ll do and you kind of go Okay, well, fine, you’ll get you get some feedback from soft launch. Okay, that’s not worried at all. But that’s not gonna, I mean, unless you have a very kind of a solid way of receiving all of that feedback, then you’re going to be creating the most horrific amount of work for yourself as well. So you just don’t suddenly get a soft launch. And then 1000 people in potentially are going to send you maybe the same bug. But maybe with a slight difference in some of the bugs, and you’re gonna have to filter through all of these. So that’s absolutely horrifying. So I would always suggest, please use a proper QA company or a proper look, QA company, to actually go through and test these properly. But certainly, I think, you know, trusting your buddies to have a look at it, it’s just, you know, you’re going to be asking for trouble but they can. Going back to the whole kind of you can fix it pretty quickly. Whereas you couldn’t before so I think that’s a kind of really positive thing. You can fix it quickly. But that kind of initial at first impression. If it goes out and it’s not solid, and doesn’t do you know, the kind of the, the minimum there kind of the requirement, then you’re basically going to lose that person. And then you’re, you know, you’re never going to get that person back again. That person is now kind of gone. But raise if you can go up with something that’s solid playable is kind of what they want to play, then they might give you the opportunity to fix what might be a small issue. It might be a small local, it might be as a small text issue, I think you’ll rarely get someone dropping out and saying, Oh my God, I hate this game so much, because instead of using the word, pork, it used the word pig. Oh, my God, I can’t believe it. You know, this is the I’m done. And so yes, I think that, you know, when it comes to live innovation, and less of the text that you view that’s been translated is actually just broken the game, in terms of, if you know if your mission is to find the prince, but actually, the translation says that you’ve got to find the castle. And basically, it’s going to, you’re going to be like, well, I’m looking for the prince, but I can’t find the prince, but you’re not actually on the planet. So that breaks the game, at which point, you’ve got someone just running round and round the map, just not unless they luckily find what the what the thing is, which is crap. So yeah, so elk, elk, QA, QA, please, you spent all this time you put this love and passion into it, just kind of just see it through to the end.

Andrej Zito 

You gave the example that Festus for each language could find the same bug. So I’m wondering, does localization QA happened in parallel with the English version? Or does it follow English so that you first fix the bugs?

Michael Souto 

It should always follow you absolutely should follow it doesn’t mean, it should always be that because the localization QA guys should be primarily just finding, you know, actual language related issues. So you might have a French string in the German version, etc, you know, that kind of stuff, which, you know, very, very easily happens. So they should be focusing on those things kind of over Long’s, you know, you know, if there’s subtitling, and the subtitles are running at the wrong speed, or you know, are going to slow things like that, you know, that should be feeding that kind of stuff. Like, if it’s things like, a pop up appears, and then it crushes the game, hopefully, you’d find that in the English version, you wouldn’t have to worry about that in the French. But yeah, so the classic example is, there could be a bug of play game could appear in the middle of the screen. But in the German version, it could be in French, in the Russian version, it could be in Italian, and then bah, bah, bah, bah, bah. So they’ve all just had that one string is just moved one column over. So it’s a it’s kind of thrown everything out. So it’s very quick fix, but what you’ll find is that each language will report that, obviously, so you need to make sure that somebody, ideally you want someone else to look after that, and obviously, obviously, we can look after that. But you don’t really want to have those six 812 16, you know, however many it is languages, all coming back saying this is the problem is a problem. Because like I yes, I know it is I fixed it already, it’s going to be in the next. So yes, so it’s kind of, you need to have that solid structure, so that you can kind of get this text backwards and forwards get these kind of issues reported and resolved. Quick, because especially these smaller developers, they haven’t got time to go through all of this. I mean, even the kind of larger ones, you know, there’s there’s other stuff that, you know, it just it simply needs to be efficiently handled. And at the moment, you know, if you are, if you’re, you know, two people making game, one’s art, one’s code, and they mix between the two and some does a bit of business and some does this that, you know, do you really want to suck all of that time spent on managing these bugs coming back in and fixing the bugs. When, you know, you can, you know, try to use a system that’s out there, you know, there’s localization sites, there’s the system that we’re working on called Gridley, which you know, will have that kind of feature set in there as well. So you can give access to trusted people within those communities. And they can then go in and and make those changes themselves. So if you are a two man team, you don’t even have to kind of think about, oh, who’s going to fix these bones, you can actually allow someone else trusted, very important, trusted, because they’re just gonna put a big swear word in there in your game, and they heard Oh, I hate this guy. So yeah, so So somebody trusted can fix it, and then it can go straight into the game. And then you don’t even have to think about it. That has to be the future, instead of kind of going through these kind of Bugzilla and all the rest of it type type ways, and then fixing it yourself. Horrible.

Andrej Zito 

Let’s, let’s talk about it later.

Michael Souto 

Yes.

Andrej Zito 

Right now, I’m just curious if there’s pseudo localization used in games?

Michael Souto 

Pseudo as in, like machine stuff?

Andrej Zito 

Yes. Where you don’t wait for the actual translations, but you just add some extra extended characters, you lengthen the strings to see if the game can still look and behave nicely.

Michael Souto 

Oh sure yeah. You’re not talking about when it’s released. You’re just talking about during kind of making sure everything fits and versa. Yeah, absolutely. And it’s really recommended that everyone should do that. Everyone should put some stuff in You know, you’d have your character set for each of the languages, make sure they’ve been displayed correctly, make sure that, you know, if there is a particular part of the character that goes underneath the line that the line is kind of isn’t cutting across that and obviously, absolutely, absolutely, I think that, you know, it would be silly for people not to, I think it’s very, very important to make sure you can run through all of it, to ensure that it all fits properly, and that it wraps properly. But you know, I think that, I think that a lot of shooters do look into that. Well, I suppose. I’m thinking about a couple. And I remember doing that work with a couple of these guys. And that, but but they were quite well established studios. I remember kind of sitting with these guys, as they were kind of going through that, without me even having to kind of say, are you going to do this, and they were actually kind of doing it already. So there is, you know, but again, it’s kind of those guys had been doing it for a while. So I think they were already thinking about all the different kind of kerning required. But I think that, you know, a lot of people probably wouldn’t, they probably wouldn’t even consider it, which you know, should again, be part of the, this is one of the checks on the list. Boop, boop, boop, boop, this one here is make sure the font can be displayed properly, make, you know, just just do big Google Translate, chuck it all in, see when it kicks out? Do not release with that text, for the love of God, please, but by all means, check it in to test it. I mean, it’s what you know, why not? Indeed. But unfortunately, I have heard of a lot of studios that have released games with Google translations in them, and you just kind of like, ah, have you ever actually tried it out? I mean, it’s just so bad. I mean, it’s great for trying to understand the gist of a website or know that kind of, you know, just to get an understanding of it. But if you’re playing a game, and it’s kind of, you know, instead of having, you know, if you’ve got continue, and and you know, it should be the word resume, or you know, it was a resume, or instead of that it says curriculum vitae, and it’s like, no, it’s the resume that resume. Ah, come on now. So it’s kind of like, that just looks absolutely terrible in the game. So. So yes, a good, you know, so that a machine translation is, you know, it should never see the light of day in your game, please, I don’t care, I don’t care how tight money is, if you have to go down the community route, and see if you can do something that way, rather than you know. So you might just have fans that really like the game want to support your game. And maybe they’ll do that for you. If you have the funds, then speak to somebody like us, or, you know, one of the many other localization providers, and then get it done kind of by professional translators. I mean, you might get lucky that one of your fans could be a professional translator, in which case who are and then you know, so you get you get some good stuff. But yeah, certainly, I think just being a native in that language doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a translator in that language, because it isn’t quite as straightforward as that. In the same way, as we were saying about QA. QA, again, isn’t just spending a bit of time having a play. You know, these guys are specialists in doing that, as in translators are specialists.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, that’s one of the biggest myths when it comes to games testing. Many people think they’ll just be playing games for fun and get paid for it. But that’s not the case, right?

Michael Souto 

No, that is not the case. That is the case like, potentially, oh, I need to run into this corner. And I need to jump up and down in this corner. 120 times. To see if I can pull through. It’s like, Oh, my goodness. Yeah. Well, twisting, and dings twist movement while jumping up and down. That could be like an hour of your day. Wicked. Oh, you lucky guy. You just play games all day long. Like, no, today I spent an hour jumping in. Yeah, it’s a it’s such a super kind of NIF of that. I mean, it’s certainly it’s, it’s, you know, one of the tests is not sure if it’s 100 times or even more, but you have to press like the Start button on a on a on a on a controller to press that like 100 times, but Baba, bah bah bah, it’s probably 100 times. And it has happened before where you press it the 99 and then 100 of the time, and it’ll crash the game. Well, it happens. It happens. absolutely crazy. So yes, that’s like one of the tests is like, Hey, who would do that? It’s like, I don’t want to do that. I just want to I want to jump across the bridge 25 times instead. And you can imagine so that’s something like commandos, now you people will play commandos, and they’ll just be trying to complete the game. And so if you’re just trying to complete the game, and you find bugs along the way, that’s wonderful. But you’ve needed it, but there’s so many different ways to complete each level. Whether or not you if you’re throwing a stone or you’re going to use the decoys or gonna you know, whatever it is. There’s so many different combinations that take you all the way through, and so many so much potential For bugs within all of that as well, with all the kind of the radius cones and all the rest of it kind of flying around. So yes, so you know, you couldn’t just test that game by just running through it. Unless, of course, you were just testing that each of the levels loaded, in which case, you wanted to have your fastest QA guy running the hell through there, which I think on the first level of commandos to, I think, I think I’m going to call out I think got a call that Lawrence. And he did it in like, kind of 18 seconds or something ridiculous, you know, something so stupid. And maybe it was one minute 18. But anyway, he basically he everything was just like time, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, and he would make it anyway. So the whole idea is that you have to check every single bit of collision, you got to check it with different weapons, different explosions, sometimes an explosion setup on the side. And this particular part of the environment will just cause a crash as well, because the, the image of the graphic used for the explosion is then interfering with another part of the other part of the environment, which then causes it to fall over. So you’ve got to do that in numerous locations as well. So it’s kind of like that Not fun job. Obviously, there’s worst jobs. let’s not let’s not be crazy here. They’re not the worst jobs out there. But, but certainly, it’s not just playing games all day. Anyway. That’s me, wait, that’s me, waving the flag for QA guys up and down and all over the place. Wait.

Andrej Zito 

We were talking about translation?

Michael Souto 

Yes.

Andrej Zito 

One of the biggest things to make a good translation is to have a good reference to have a context, especially when it comes to games where you can have very short strings, but where do they actually appear? So I’m wondering, how in your perspective, has the context and reference sharing with translators evolved over the years?

Michael Souto 

I’d say it’s still generally pretty awful.

Andrej Zito 

Okay.

Michael Souto 

Unfortunately.

Andrej Zito 

my my crazy utopian idea is that I just translate somewhere I go to a string. And somehow magically, I can see where exactly in the game the string will appear?

Michael Souto 

Well, I think that there is there is the potential for that. I mean, I don’t I’m not sure if we’ve experienced it ourselves. But but I think you can, I think there are people out there that have developed systems so that they can select a particular string, and it will take them to a screenshot or you know, something that will then have that. And I think that is actually quite, that happens reasonably, you know, it happens quite a lot. And so you will get those that type of testing that will just be loaded into screens, and then the text will time with the screenshot. But seeing it live is that holy other thing as well to be able to just jump to any particular point of a game, to see that string, because you can see the string on this grid on the screenshot, and that’s great. But that’s not but then kind of what precedes it, is it part of a conversation, etc, there’s a lot more kind of information that a screenshot itself doesn’t really give you all the all the context. So, yes, ideally, you’d want to see it in code. But it seems that that is something I’m not aware that that’s ever happened. I mean, that would be phenomenal. And the weight, the weight currently happens is that you asked nicely if within that Excel file, or within lock directory, or whatever kind of system is being used, that there’s a column for ID a column for source, and then a column for description or some kind of context. column. And so from that, then hopefully, that’s enough information. And if that isn’t enough information, then obviously translate a question backwards and forwards to kind of been can get that all cleared up. But certainly, I mean, it’s, it’s, there are some studios who will provide context, but every single string, and when you see that you’re like, Oh, my God, these guys are awesome. And it’s really, it’s that if they’re happy, they when you see that you think, ah, this is going to really minimize questions, it’s gonna make everyone happy, oh, this is wonderful. And then you get some that just have nothing at all, nothing at all. And then and then to add insult to injury, then when it comes back, then that comes out and that that developer will then say, and actually, out of these strings, at least 200 strings, 50 of them are too long to go into the interface is that well, you didn’t tell us that there was any restriction on the amount of text. So yes, that’s then another thing you have to been kind of battled with as well. So not only having no context, but also no understanding of the string limitate or the character limitation as well. And so you just creates all this additional work. Whereas if you had a column for ID, column for source text, a column for any context, and then a column for text dimensions, so for the maximum number of characters on any particular line, and then you would then have what you need to then kind of paint this picture, obviously, there’s other ones like gender, or you know, or you know, those types of elements that that required or if there’s placeholders what Is the placeholder stand for, you know, what can the placeholder be removed and replaced with. And certainly just as a start having that context and string and character, that would be lovely. happens that far too rarely for my for my liking. So that is a bit of a shame. But again, that’s something that we always kind of keep pushing for. And we keep asking, and, and sometimes you like I say, some people, they provide it straight away and some people, you have to kind of beg for it.

Andrej Zito 

My question about translation is, you guys also do translation service as well. It’s localized direct. So when you’re looking for people, how big of a role does it play, if the translators are into games?

Michael Souto 

They have to be into games, that’s an absolutely vital thing for us. There’s a, there’s a whole kind of whole level of terminology required, that’s very different to anything else. And you know, and especially when a game player, if we’re playing a game, and then the kind of the usual associated word for particular function is something totally different to what they would normally expect, then it really jars them out of the experience, and they kind of go, Oh, this is a weird, weird kind of word. So you might have just to think of like, you might have an inventory. And then you might have like, a particular word for inventory, but then somebody else might call it storage or something like that. And it’s kind of like, oh, storage, that’s really, I wouldn’t expect that, you know, playing boulders gates or something like that, it’s kind of, I’d expect it to be in inventory. So yes, so it’s kind of, there’s very much there’s kind of a glossary, or kind of a terminology requirement, that unless people have been, you know, working with games, and then then just not gonna quite get that and you can, when you when we have stuff, when we have people who test for us, or they do a test translation, when we then send it to one of our existing our translators, regularly, they will come back saying, this person hasn’t worked on games before, because they’ve completely kind of missed kind of a lot of these kind of key phrases that would be required. But that’s not you know, you’ll always there always be the opportunity, there will always be companies that will have non gamers translating for them. And, you know, we might do so we tend to focus on games. But we might have some legal texts that you know, for you low or something like that, in which case, then we’ll speak to one of the guys that we have on our books that does legal translation, and specifically that, so we’ll have those guys come in to do that stuff, which isn’t specifically game game terminology based. And so then we’ll then we’ll save those guys for those things, but all but there will be other companies that will just go, Hey, you’re a translator, that’s great. And maybe that way, they can start developing some experience in doing some gain translations. But yeah, for us, it’s always, you know, do you play games, you know, it’s, you know, and they might, they don’t necessarily to be kind of, you know, play 10 hours of games every day or something, it’s just, it’s more a case of, you know, that they, they understand, you know, how games can be put together, but you know, how games kind of are structured as you play through, you know, you, you have your tutorial or kind of small area that you can go through when you start off with so you really have to explain, in a very simplistic way, you know, what you’re doing, you know, what the steps are that you’re going through on this tutorial. And then as you progress through the game, and you can kind of change, you know, that kind of that that intonation, that kind of that general tone as you go through the game. But certainly To start off with, it needs to be kind of readinglots of very kind of simplistic tone to kick things off. So it just, you know, that kind of thing. So for us, you have to be a games focused translator.

Andrej Zito 

Does the same apply for project managers, and I’ve shared this with you before, that I try to get myself into games localization because I think I’m a pretty good project manager in general when it comes to localization. But many times I was turned down, and the people said that you have no experience in games localization. Do you think from a project management perspective? Is it that different from doing..

Michael Souto 

Loc project management?

Andrej Zito 

Yes.

Michael Souto 

 localization project okay. Yeah, because if obviously if it was just at a game studio just doing a pm like a be doing pm rights you don’t that’s understandable. But certainly I think for us, no, I think we we would like our PMS to have and I think that apart from one I think that we are we all like games and and some some of the people some of the PMS really love games. And you know, so again, can come in and they’re like, Oh my God, this game is coming. I absolutely love this game. Oh, this is so cool. And so you know, so you get really excited and it’s gonna like Yeah, yeah. And so, and that person can regularly answer questions about any kind of any text that comes in. They’re like, Oh, no work, because, you know, I played to area or whatever it is. It’s like no This type of object is this and this and it’s like, oh, okay, now I get it. So you can kind of catch things before having even having to ask the, the, the studio. So you know, so that’s a great thing for them. So it’s great for that person to be a gamer. But for us, it’s not vital at all, I think that your project management skills are far more important than than the understanding of the differences between Halo and Fallout. So see it. So let’s say it’s far more important to kind of understand that you’ve got potentially 100 translators that you’re going to have to kind of speak with on a regular basis and flare things out, track them, bring them back in, make sure that everyone’s happy, make sure questions are being answered and not allow your head to blow up. So that’s the key thing for us. So is this just an extended job interview?

Andrej Zito 

Maybe Hello, you tell me. Am I doing so far?

Michael Souto 

Well, it’s okay. I think some of the questioning could be a bit deeper, but it’s fine.

Andrej Zito 

I assume that for your role. Being a gamer coming from the industry is quite crucial, I would say.

Michael Souto 

From a from a kind of biz dev perspective. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think that kind of having that understanding. And that initial that immediate understand while having kind of quite a decent kind of network of people I know as well as obviously super useful as well, because you can go to most shows, and you’ll always know some people there that you can then kind of kick off some networking with. But certainly having that experience and being able to then impart that to, like I said, before, you know, kind of students or some people who are just kind of starting out, it’s, you know, I do have a lot of stuff that I can share with that with a lot of these guys. And so, yes, I think, you know, for me, certainly, it’s kind of being able to kind of speak to people in a fairly kind of cultish way, necessarily, if it’s, if it’s a networking thing, but to be able to kind of say, I know exactly what you’re going through this, you know, I can tell you that this is what I did, back then this is the kind of thing that we need to avoid. And now using my knowledge of, of localization, I can say, right, and then these are the things you need to look out for and this side of things. And so that becomes a very, very useful tool. But yeah, I think, you know, it’s kind of, I think, one of the crucial understanding things, and I think, when, with my my coming from gaming, is understanding that the games just like they’re in such a kind of flux all the way through, they’re kind of, they’re really kind of up until the very last minute, this still kind of being changed and adapted to that. And now because of, you know, mobile gaming and all the rest of it, that you know, that carries on afterwards, as well. So they’re always being touched, they’re always being tinkered with it was broken. But the idea is that, we really understand that, you know, that, because stuff changes so much. You can’t ever say like, this is the final version. This is the final version, because it’s never going to be the final version, there’s always going to be one more drip, there’s gonna be two more bits for this batch, or know, somebody pick this up in QA, you need to do this. And, you know, a lot of people would get very, very pissed off and say, Wow, I can’t work like this. This is crazy. But I think you know, because we have that understanding is, can I Well, this is the way it works. And I think that a lot of developers really welcome that because they’re like, they thought they mostly not all, but most of that most kind of go, I’m really sorry, you know, this is another, you know, this is another kind of 20 words just came from nowhere. And we’re like, now we’ll send them over, let’s go Come, then this kind of gets get them turned around as quickly as possible. And also the speed thing as well. So sometimes it’ll be Oh, my God. And you know, this is one o’clock in the afternoon. I need this back by four o’clock. And that’s when we like, right, everyone dropped tools. Let’s go brush. And then we have to kind of get cracking and get that out and back. So they can kind of hit that timeline. And that’s what they get from us. Maybe they don’t get from other people. So maybe they do get from other people. I don’t know that work for those other people. But certainly we kind of go, you know, these guys need it. They’re absolutely desperate. They’ve been working for the last three weeks on getting this this latest kind of build ready to go. And it’s the Valentine’s Day version or something. And it’s Valentine’s day tomorrow. And it’s like if it don’t if it goes out in two days, then they kind of missed the boat. So it’s like, right, come on people. What can we do here is Halloween. Halloween? Let’s go. So. So yeah, so I think having that experience is a real benefit.

Andrej Zito 

I would like to talk about two acronyms, which I think are very close to your role. And that is EOL, and ROI. Right. So let’s say I’m a I created the game. I come to you for advice. What should I localize with my game? And how would you help me calculate ROI? Is that something that you help your clients?

Michael Souto 

We wouldn’t. No. That’s something that would be handled by the clients or from potentially another, maybe a publisher, or a or some kind of consultant team or something like that, we wouldn’t work out ROI ROI at all, it’d be a case of, we would simply provide a cost for that, for that translation pass or for the licensing of the tool. Because Bocas ROI is an incredibly difficult thing to, to really kind of nail you can have like a ballpark one, and then obviously, one at time of launch. And then you can work out from that point, because this, again, is similar to so many moving parts, all of a sudden, you’ve then invested twice the amount of time in QA that you thought you were going to invest. So your ROI takes a massive ding. And then it’s kind of like, oh, okay, then so then that’s kind of moved around a hell of a lot, or we can kind of say is, this is what it’s going to cost you to localize into those languages. And if you, and then what we can then say, actually, if it’s only it’s only going to cost you 500 pounds, or 500 euros to localize into the sport, because any it’s a very light game. So it’s going to cost you 500 euros. And then and then a big case of Okay, so how does that sound? And they’ll say, Oh, well, that sounds great, then, in which case, then we will suggest, okay, so the languages you’ve actually currently chosen, have really high language proficiency. So if that 500 years works for you, what about swapping that language for this language, where the language pricy is not that good, but it’s a very good market? And you know, and actually kind of alphabet wise, you know, it’s not big, it’s not like Arabic, which would then you have to change the flow of the text. And so it might be Turkish, for example, Turkey is such a really great market, huge penetration of mobiles. You know, it’s a case of all right, so, could you potentially make more money in Turkey than you would do in Italy, for example? So we are very kind of open with, okay, so you’ve got this list? This is what? Yeah, yeah, this is what the cost is going to be, you know, how about, you know, this, and this, and this? You know, for example, I said before about steam and, and Russian, you know, if that if they’re doing it? Okay, so what platforms is this? It’s pc? Oh, I see, there’s no Russian on this list, you should probably swap one of these languages for Russian, like, immediately. So yes, I think, you know, we we aren’t kind of, we think, you know, it’s massively important to make sure you have the right markets you’re going into. But yeah, I think kind of ROI is super, super important, I think that it would take, it would be just absolutely insane. If the money you spent on a on a localization didn’t improve your ROI. Because, you know, unless you’re unless you’re making some kind of text adventurer, which, which is gonna cost like, 20,000 euros in French, only, then then, you know, then most of the time, there’s not going to be like a big problem for hitting kind of most of the usual languages, it’s never going to cost you that much that you’re not going to make back quite quickly. But I think not people are more, they seem to be more interested in just hitting those, like hitting things. And not kind of really kind of considering what are those other kind of big markets that they could be going into? Because it just this kind of preconception of figs are the ones I must always hit, like, No, you don’t have to, you can chop and change, you can move them around a bit. There’s, you know, there’s a lot of money in things. But you know, if you if you’re doing Spanish, now, is it a case of you know, should you be perhaps, you know, is your game going to be far more popular in Latin America than it is in in Europe? So is it a case of actually, let’s make a Latin American version rather than the European version? And then do it that way? So yes, so it yet so in the long response? was no, we don’t work with with the return on investment. But we do try to kind of provide information as to how they can try to maximise on on this spend with us. And we don’t just go Yeah, yeah, give us all the languages, we’ll take them away. Because that would be crap. Especially because we do deal with a lot of small studios, and you know, that extra 500 quid or whatever extra 500 euros could be quite an important amount of money for these guys. So.

Andrej Zito 

So if you are a small game studio, and I come to you for advice, and I have very limited budget, would you rather say that I should localize less for more languages, or try to go like a full localization into, let’s say, fix?

Michael Souto 

Okay, that’s a great question. So I think there’s a genre questions that would come out of that. Initially, I think that if you’re making like a match three game, then really

Andrej Zito 

Match three.

Michael Souto 

Match three like candy crush. So match three game you have to match three things.

Andrej Zito 

Oh, match three.

Michael Souto 

Well, what do you think I said?

Andrej Zito 

I I thought it was like some special category of games. They say yep. So yeah, actually is all those types of things, you get fantasy, match threes and whatever. But yeah, so the idea is that you just three of the same or four of the same, or five of the same super chain, whatever. And so yes, that kind of game. So those ones don’t, you know, they don’t have a huge requirement for in game translation, because usually the quick text light or there might be like a very flimsy narrative, I think, you know, things like gardenscapes, actually, they’ve created quite an in depth kind of storyline to it. So maybe you would want to spend more on getting all those really working well, because I think that that narrative is a real really important part of garden scapes and, and homescapes. And so yeah, so you kind of need to look at the title itself, and whether or not it needs that in game because a lot of games, there are some games kind of think what it’s called them, but there’s like some runners, for example, you might have a runner, and you know, subway surfers, you don’t really can have all the text in there is not absolutely vital, I’m sure, Caillou will translate all of it, because they’re a massive company. And they go, we want the best experience for everyone. So they translate everything was wonderful. But what would be more important, if you are a small developer, and you wanted to publish this game, and it was a game that was quite text light. But really limited money, I would look more at doing the the store text, rather than the in game text. As a minimum, I would do store text. And if it was kind of, you know, I can spend a bit on this and a bit on this, I would probably suggest you spend more, or combine the stuff from the end game, or maybe choose maybe two languages that are like the most important languages to hit because language proficiency, it’s so low, then to make it in there. So for example, if you’re making a Chinese version, and the Japanese version, those would be the ones to really kind of go for, or an Indian version, or you know, whatever. So those would be the things and then everything else would then be the store text. And I think store text is the number, the number one thing you should always go for, especially if you’re unlimited. Michael, I remember one presentation that I was watching a long time ago, it was from King. And it was about big data, how to utilize big data, I’m wondering if in your experience, you have seen Big Data influencing localization in any way.

Michael Souto 

Not that we’ve had exposure to not that we’ve had exposure to I can I can totally see how it would. But without actually kind of having that to hand, you know, couldn’t really comment. But certainly I think, you know, people’s kind of buying experiences, you know, kind of, you know, stuff like, you know, what’s up, you know, at this time during lockdown for so many countries, you know, what are the kind of important things and whether or not those important things are suddenly kind of are becoming really kind of pushed within games themselves. So you might well have a game that has, and kind of a bar area or something like that. And you really kind of promote the bar area, because nobody can go to a bar at the moment. And it’s like, everyone come to Mike’s bar, come and hang out in Mike’s bar. And it was like, Yes, Mike’s bar leaves, and then you’d spend some money on kind of making Mike’s bowl really cool. So yes, you know, so I can definitely see how can it be there are things happening over time at that period that you could then kind of expand on and then bring into a localization? front? Certainly, yeah, I think there’s, you know, it’s it’s, you know, it’s a bit scary, the whole big data thing, but certainly, I think that that can easily have a lot of effect on on localization.

Andrej Zito 

So let’s go back to your time with itis. And when you guys decided that you want to do something together, I actually wanted to ask this question in the very beginning, but then we somehow started talking about localization and the game policies. So..  Yeah, I’m wondering if you remember the time when you guys sit together somewhere, and you decided that Okay, we’re leaving the game production. Now. We’re going to start our own company.

Michael Souto 

Yeah, but it was in a bar. As much as all great things happen. Yeah. Yeah. It wasn’t like, unfortunately, that that closed down in the suspicious fire. I’m not sure what happened. Yeah, we just we just sat down and just kind of said, you know, we spent so long making games and, you know, with varying successes, because there’s some of the games that I worked because I was always an external producer and, and the other end and Mateus and Chris were internal production. So they actually, Chris started one of the first Swedish developers, and many many years ago and, and, and was quite, quite successful from that and made a lot Colin McRae. makkonen Tommy Hakkinen, one of those I know the World Rally Championship, that’s it well, re championship. So they did that. And that was super, super successful. And, and so so they’ve been making games, Mateus was also part of that team as well. They’ve been making games for ages varying success. And it just seemed like, at the time, it was very much a case of, you know, we, we kind of, we put so much love and investment into making something that if it’s not, if it doesn’t hit a sweet spot, or if it doesn’t kind of capture something at that particular time, then you kind of you run the risk of it just disappearing. And you know, and I worked on games that were I thought phenomenal. And it just, you know, whether the marketing spend wasn’t there, or it just wasn’t kind of the right time or didn’t get the right kind of coverage. They just never really kind of did the numbers that it could have done, if more people had played it and understood it, and you know, whatever. And so yes, I think that applied to all of us. And we were kind of a little bit kind of frustrated by all of that. But you know, especially I would imagine today, it’s a particular strip frustration, because you have so many games being released every single day that you know, disappeared without trace. And a load of those games are great games. But just, you know, it doesn’t get that kind of that lucky that opportunity that little kind of that little flappy moment that makes it suddenly go poof, and it just jumps up. So when obviously that was a reference to flappy

Andrej Zito 

Yes, I guess

Michael Souto 

just for all those localization friends out there. So yeah, so we kind of said, Okay, well, let’s do something that will actually, that shouldn’t be like a punt. But it’s more like a real kind of calculation on, you know, where is there? What part of the industry is going to continue to grow? And what can we do within that area of the industry to because we wanted to definitely stay in games. I mean, that was just never even a consideration. So what could we make that was going to kind of kind of make something better. So we decided to do a tool would be great to kind of Marshal all that together. And localization is just going to continue to grow and grow and grow and grow. We think anyway, until some point in the future where we will have Babel fishes in our ear. And you know, then that’s that. So yeah, so, and our eyes, obviously, as well, once once we have once you have all that sifted ready translation eyes, and then the actual translation process works properly. So yeah, so we just thought that that would be a great kind of thing that we could kind of work on. And so we’ve continued doing that. So we did that. So that’s now been 11 years now. And now we’re working on Gridley, which is currently in beta trials at the moment. And that takes it even like takes it a step further. So it’s not only just the localization, but it’s also kind of a lot of data interaction as well. So it can have tweaking values within gameplay within the code itself, and then also being able to interact with kind of in app purchases and things without having to actually kind of take it out into another format. So yeah, so the whole Gridley thing is, I can’t I don’t want to like shameless promotional kind of nonsense and stuff. But basically, the idea was, let’s work in a field where we can add a lot of value, and then kind of expand on that. And that’s what we’re doing. Then what promotion?

Andrej Zito 

And now I’m actually curious. So let’s do some self promotion.

Michael Souto 

Yeah, so the idea is that, let’s let’s

Andrej Zito 

Let’s first start with Locdirect, it’s locdirect, right, that’s the same as that you started creating. So that’s right, if I’m a developer, does it mean that I put the strings there, or it extracts the strings where I have somewhere else?

Michael Souto 

It can do it can work either way, they can work either way. So how a lot of studios use it is that they will actually create the strings within lock direct. And then using the API, you can then push that text into their editor, which will then display in game or just straight into the game itself. So that works that way. And then so because the text is in locked direct already, then when you want to have it translated, you just kind of click the, this is ready for translation button, and then ourselves or L or keywords, or whoever it might be, will then take that file, translate it and then push it back through the system. Once it comes back into the system, then again, using the API, you can then push it back out into the game again. So you have this kind of this flow that goes through. And so there’s kind of a lot less human interaction. And certainly by having everything kind of one central repository, it just means things don’t go missing everything is kind of is kept kind of controlled versions are never kind of kind of has this been so you’ll have text with texts been translated by the text has now been changed. And this obviously automatically goes oh, I need to be changed as well. So that never goes missing. And so at the end of it, you can see Okay, I need to I need to fix all of these strings. So yeah, so that’s look directories pretty much that it can do marshals everything, you can set things like maximum text length, as I was saying before you can add your read your context in there as well. So the translators see everything. If they have questions, they ask them through the system as well. So if later on another language is required, those questions on that string are already there and already answered by the dev team. So if somebody says, If you then decide later on to do a Turkish version, then the questions and the answers are there. So it means that the developer has less trouble later on as well. So it’s, it’s this whole kind of central repository, looks after stuff, doesn’t let things go missing. Everything that things go missing. And, you know, and basically, it’s kind of, it’s improved a lot of people, a lot of people have been doing it for a long time. They always say, God, I wish I had this, like 15 years ago, or whatever, you know, it’s kind of like, all these kind of old school people can learn, ah, this would have been so helpful. And obviously, for the the people who haven’t been through the blood and guts before, they will soon learn of the blood and guts, and then they will want to use something like direct to make the blood and guts go away.

Andrej Zito 

So you started as a tech company, right? And then eventually, I assume, based on demand, you added translation services?

Michael Souto 

I suppose I suppose we could, I mean, you know, we can we can look into it. So we did a bit of research as to whether or not we could actually kind of do this. And we started speaking to a bunch of localization buddies, and kind of getting kind of an understanding what kind of process we should be going through to make sure we get the right people in. And after doing a bit kind of walk kind of exploratory stuff, then then we start to actually we could do this. And so we’ve been gonna put some listings out to find some, some freelance translator guys that have the required qualifications and the understanding of games. And you know, that like playing games, or loved playing games. And so now we’ve developed a list of 150 or so freelancers in multiple languages. And they’re obviously all native, in their language, obviously, just want to just just to clarify that. If it’s very, I mean, I’ve done it, this is going to be contentious thing, and I probably should even say this. But whenever if I get a, a, if I get an application that says, I work from French, into English, and from German into French, and then from French into German, I’m like, Huh, this always scares me a little bit. Like, you have to have like, you should always work into your native language, you shouldn’t be kind of like, I wouldn’t feel at all comfortable. Even though I can speak Spanish, I would never translate into Spanish. And I suppose I’m a bad example, because my Spanish is crappy. But the you know, it’s the kind of you will never be as even though you’re phenomenal at speaking a particular language, you will never be the same as a native. And I think that whenever I see one of those applications that has this multiple arrow, kind of I do this to this and this Oh, and you know what, I also do this and I can cook Chinese food. It’s like, dude, there’s too much on there. There’s too much, you know, I just want you to do this to this. And then maybe you can do you know, Spanish bearing into this as well, but it was the native language has to be the same thing. Please. I can do Russian into English and English into Russian. No, you can’t. No, you can’t. You think you can, but you can’t. So yes, so please don’t apply to us. See, yeah, I’m getting a bit. I’m kind of getting a bit giddy with all the heat. I need to go fill my glass up in a second. So anyway, yes, to answer your question.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah. So I’m wondering now how Gridley ties into this whole thing, since it’s a new thing that you’re working on will be an extension of locdirect or will be a competitor?

Michael Souto 

Yes, well, we’ll a competitor and such, because what we’re going to do is we’re going to put all the hooks in so that current lock direct users can very easily transition into Gridley. So Gridley will be superior to lock direct, that’s kind of just nailed on, it’s going to have a load that’s going to have pretty much all the functionality from lock direct. But it will be browser based, which is obviously a big, big jump already. But also it will have the way it’s kind of the way the architecture is structured will allow us to have these absolutely huge projects. So we’ve had I think a billion cells has been the has been that what we’ve tested up to so far. So you can have these kind of these grids. That can be absolutely phenomenal. Obviously, everything can be filtered, everything can be kind of organized in a certain way. But these can be absolutely massive and load up in seconds as well. So it’s really important for us to make it really fast. So one of the kind of the the things that we have with locked director the moment is, if you do have a very, really big project, and this is this is no spoilers because all of our clients, no, this is, this is the thing. But if it’s a really massive project, then there will be some slowdown, because the way that the the underlying code has been set up, wasn’t ever built to handle a million words. So it was never kind of set up for that. Whereas we’ve with Gridley, we’ve personally, those are the first things we wanted to make sure we could do was really fast loading times really enormous sets of data. And see, so it will do all the stuff that I can do and more. But it also the way that that the information will be structured, as well as through the API again, as well is it will be able to speak to different parts of the game. So it won’t necessarily then just be able to kind of say, Okay, this is the text for play game, and paste that into the French version with this French text, blah, blah, blah, and it will kind of do all that, as you would expect it to with luck, direct, etc. But what it will also be able to do is affect other parts as well. So if you do have some in app purchase text, you can then have all of that text within loc direct as well. And then you can push that to whichever location you want to as well. Now I’d have to look at whether or not you can actually push through to the actual submission stores themselves that when I’m not entirely sure if that’s actually working yet or not, I think the the intention would be that you’d be able to press a button, and then it will just go into the app store will be submitted to the out of the App Store process. But the other side is you It gives the it gives the student the opportunity to actually kind of tweak values as well. So if you’re finding that particular price point isn’t quite doing the business for that particular language, then you can change the price point within Gridley as well and then push that through to but also if you’re finding that actually, the values of the the armor of utter forgetfulness is far too powerful, then you can you can change the values within you could set it up to be able to change the values in one area as well. So not only are you kind of tweaking with text for the game itself, but you can be tweaking values of your offering as well as you actually can have as your as you’ve got it all together in one place. So I know it sounds kind of disjointed. But the idea is again, like with lock direct, you’ve got this central repository, that is one area that contains everything now it doesn’t contain the code itself. But you set up all of these kind of grids, you set up a project with numerous grids, localization things, translation memory, you can have in app purchases, you can have all these kind of different grids, and you can have all the grids speaking to each other. So you know that if something changes here, then it will then the dependency will then flag those dependencies as out of date, or those need to be updated. So you can see all of this stuff working in one place. I think I think people are going to be the demos that we’ve had, and we’ve demoed it to a few people. They seem to be quite excited by it by having kind of everything in one place. So yeah, we’ve got high hopes. We’ve got some beats at the moment. And we have our soft launch ish type thing. And mid September, September, we’ll actually kind of allow people to start using it properly. But But yeah, so that will just continue to be iterated and expanded and developed further. Over time. We’ve got big plans, big plans,

Andrej Zito 

Who is behind the development?

Michael Souto 

The development is it’s the same guy. So it’s the place Mateus and Chris as well. I’ve been a bizarre Swedish office. And they kind of they’re the, the marshals of the of the process. But then we also set up a studio in Vietnam, and Vietnam, we’ve got tree over there, who’s the studio manager, and we have 20 people, I believe the count is now over, they’re actually working on the development of the tool. And so while not the moment because Mateus, and Chris can’t fly over there, but obviously there would be regular kind of Skype chats and flights and things and meetings over there to keep it all up to date. But yes, we’re super happy we think it’s in it’s really come along. Now we’re just getting to that point now where we really need me to kind of like, make sure that you know, the whole the beta trial part of it is not just for the testing that we were saying before, get some official people to do that, which we are going to but this is more case of getting a beater guys to come in and actually kind of go Oh, you know what, I’d really like it to do these things or you know, does it do this and this and this and we can say Actually, no, it doesn’t do that. What a brilliant idea. Let’s let’s kind of incorporate Right that, or this does something that we, we thought it would work in a different way. So we can kind of look at it that way. So yes, I’m super excited by it. But who knows, we need to still hit that sweet spot. But we think we’ve created something that especially from a games perspective and games as a service, particularly within the people find it really useful to be able to actually want to tweak something, I’m on the train. And I want to tweak a value for an in app purchase or whatever. And you can do it right there, push it through, and then it can be live. I think that’s, you know, that kind of functionality is going to be a massive win. So.

Andrej Zito 

Why did you decide to have an office in Vietnam?

Michael Souto 

A number of things really, there was the the English proficiency was as we’ve been talking a lot about English proficiency over the last little bit, was really excellent. really excellent. We’ve got, we found guys over there. Brilliant English. And I know this problem this, I’m sure there’s other countries that would, that would boast this as well. But certainly, we were very happy with the with the guys that they’re the technical ability, the technical abilities, superb as well. Got some really great guys out there. And getting them is awesome. And we’d like Vietnam a lot. So yeah, so that was kind of made things easier as well. But I think that, you know, is there was we found some people, some key people out there that really kind of shared their kind of the vision. And, and that kind of made kind of helped us kind of make that decision as well. So, see, so we’re very, very happy with with Vietnam.

Andrej Zito 

Did you have the office since the start? Or was it just added later?

Michael Souto 

It was a lot since the start of lock direct, not 11 years ago? No, this was four years ago now, maybe? Four years ago? In hochiminh? It’s not only- you’ve been there, I think. Have you been there.

Andrej Zito 

Yes.

Michael Souto 

You have. Yeah. What a fantastic.I recommend at all, everyone out there Go Go visit when you can, obviously, but I think there’s been no deaths there for a long, long time. From Corona. Obviously, there’s obviously there’s been other deaths? I’m sure.

Andrej Zito 

People don’t die there.

Michael Souto 

Yeah, yes. magical place. It just turned into like a green paste that then fed to other people.

Andrej Zito 

If you don’t get hit by a car ride crossing? Yeah.

Michael Souto 

Yeah. So be very careful when you cross roads, or just close your eyes and go for it. One or the other?

Andrej Zito 

How do you go about maintaining your company culture in such a place as Vietnam? And what is your company culture?

Michael Souto 

I mean, it’s a Yeah, so please, if we have something that’s kind of a kind of definition, as such, I think it’s one of our kind of key kind of mantras, and what we always want to push is that, you know, is our kind of our only need our desire to always be genuine, I think there’s kind of like, this is really super important to us that, you know, it’s not kind of the fast bark, it’s not kind of I can deliver something, when I can’t deliver something, it’s really kind of, we want that kind of that trust, that kind of that understanding that when you speak to us, you know, if you are going to get that level of trust, that kind of genuine, and response from us. And so I think that that is really a key thing for something, you know, the idea of having, quote, you know, everyone will want to have great quality, great costs, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, all that kind of stuff, I think, is kind of, you know, that kind of that tangible, is more of a case of, you know, understanding that when they come to us that they’re going to get upfront, you know, honest kind of deliberation and decision making, and not with kind of any kind of hidden kind of nonsense whatsoever. And I hope that that’s what people receive and and agree with. And if you do agree, please like this video. So So yes, I think that’s kind of the key thing there. And I think that you know, and, you know, when recruiting for the guys in the Vietnam office, I think, you know, that’s something that’s, you know, with the main kind of pair over there, that there’s some that people that we can definitely see have that have our kind of need for trust, the need for commitment, genuine reasoning, and they shared that those values as well. So I think that you know, so we kind of really want them and we trust them to make sure that they are bringing the right people on, they’re gonna fulfill, you know, kind of the vision that we will have.

Andrej Zito 

When you said need for trust, unlike is that the new game from EA?

Michael Souto 

Hey, lead for put it into seventh gear.

Andrej Zito 

Okay, let’s start wrapping this up. And I just want to talk about you, Only you Michael,

Michael Souto 

God, you asked me some kind of really searching question

Andrej Zito 

Because you mentioned about being genuine I’m wondering how people react to your humor. If you get any feedback,

Michael Souto 

Your choice,

Andrej Zito 

If you don’t like Mike, please like this video and subscribe.

Michael Souto 

If you don’t like Mike, definitely like the video. Yeah.

Andrej Zito 

What would you say Mike is your weakness?

Michael Souto 

Oh, wooh.

Andrej Zito 

I’m getting deep.

Michael Souto 

I’m gonna get I’m gonna, I’m gonna say like one of these weaknesses, which is actually a massive strength. My weakness is that I just like reading books too much. I just love Oh, it’s just such a weakness. Now my weakness, my weakness is like my weak. Again, this is associated what right? But my weakness is that I don’t switch off, right, which is kind of like a, it’s, I suppose it is a weakness. Because from a wellness perspective, it’s not the greatest thing, because I’m just always thinking about work. You know, it’s positive in the sense that I get lots of work done. But it’s not very positive from a kind of a kind of internal and kind of a wellness perspective. So yes, I think that my weaknesses, I would love to build up just the ability to just go screw this. And I suppose because I’m one of the kind of one of the founders and, you know, have like a real vested interest. So you kind of like, is it? I suppose maybe if I was just working on it just working. If I was if I was an employee, then maybe I could kind of go right screw this. I’m done for the weekend. I’m not even going to check my phone until Monday morning. And then that would be awesome. But I’ve never been in that position at all. I’ve never I’ve always taken my laptop on holidays. I’ve always kind of spent three hours in the hotel room when the kids are splashing in the pool and all the rest of it. And so yes, that’s what we missed. My other weakness is beer. Let’s just go for it. Let’s just let’s just say there and and aftershock. And

Andrej Zito 

What does it mean aftershocks?

Michael Souto 

Aftershocks are these little shots that you can you can do that you get red aftershocks and blue aftershocks. So then if it’s everywhere, but it’s in the UK or used to be in the UK and I haven’t had it for years. But what you’d have is the the red one taste of cinnamon. And so you take it in and you’d have to hold it in your mouth for 20 seconds. While everyone’s counting. You can feel it burning. You know, like sometimes if you’ve got like a really potent mouthwash, yeah, you hold it in a bit too long. You’re not like that. But you have to hold it in, you have to hold it in and then at the very end you go, you do drink it. And then you have to go like that with it. And when you do it makes you immediately start coughing and spluttering. But you’ve got to try to hold that in. So you’d So back in the day, you’d have 20 people all doing exactly this screaming extreme because it was basically burning inside of their mouths. But it’s not on fire. It’s just because the cinnamon. See so aftershock. And of course, DRAM buey, which is my drink of choice.

Andrej Zito 

I don’t know that either. What is it?

Michael Souto 

Drank beer, it’s like a whiskey based liquor. And you can actually set fire to it. So what you do is you take when you put in your mouth and you set fire to it in your mouth.

Andrej Zito 

That’s where the dragon comes from. Right.

Michael Souto 

That is the dragon.

Andrej Zito 

Make sense? What are you curious about right now?

Michael Souto 

What I am I curious about I’m curious about? Well, for me kind of like the usual kind of happy I’ll be going to find a vaccine. That’s my main curiosity is not really localisation one. But you know, the vaccine would be a really sweet thing very, very soon. But curious about from a localization perspective. I mean, I’m curious about, you know, will we get to a point and how long will it be till we get to a point where, where machines will actually be able to do that role? I think you know, I’ve spoken to people involved in the technical side of this kind of programming and kind of been dealing with teams that do that. And, and, you know, they’re super buoyant and like, Well, have you heard this, it’s really awesome. And it uses AI this and blah, blah, blah. And it’s like, now it’s still crap me is still, it’s still nowhere near where it needs to be before it can ever replace a human. And I don’t know if that point will ever come. But it’s just, I think there’s still gonna be light years away. And there’s some kind of incredible alien intervention occurs along with the warp drive. So I think that, you know, be interesting to see where that goes. And how long that’s going to take. I think what else is interesting is, is what kind of effect Coronavirus will have on all the different markets? You know, will it because obviously, there’s been a huge spike in in most sales in most stores. And obviously, not in like not physical content so much. But you know, will that will it continue? Will people not go out so much will people not go to show so much? Well, we’ll work from home will we just go to will resuming all the time, you know, it’s you know, it’s kind of like what, you know, what’s going to happen out of the back of this, because this is a real kind of no loads of companies have managed to find a way working remotely, that they weren’t before. And now people are kind of looking at going, actually, we’re going to save a shitload of money by not having to have an office, and then just doing this remotely, it seems to work, okay, and maybe we’ll just get together once every couple of months and have a couple of beers. And then that will be kind of, you know, that kind of socializing part of it. But yes, that’s I’m interested to see what what’s going to happen at the back of this. And, you know, all the things that we’ve been forced to use, how many of those things have been super positive, and now, therefore, we’re going to actually going to carry on doing that, where I am, we have, we’re friends with, with various neighbors, but socially distance we’ve been, we’ve been in each other’s front gardens, which was totally unheard of before, like this lockdown, it’d be like, drinking out the front of your garden, is very uncouth. But now it’s like, hey, Saturday, let’s go sit at the front. So it kind of like that seems like something now that I’d quite like to hold on to, because it’s a really nice way of socializing. You get people that come past, and you can talk to them. And, you know, we’ve we’ve talked to people we would never normally talk to, because everyone’s just so focused on kind of their house and just, you know, and then maybe there’s maybe two neighbors. But we’ve talked to all kinds of people who wouldn’t normally so we’ve kind of created and fostered this really incredible kind of community now, even though it’s all socially distance community, that’s been a really positive thing. So I think that that probably applies to localization to to gaming as well. And and how people actually kind of work in teams. So I think it’s all super interesting. And it’d be great to find out soon, once we’re all actually allowed out their houses without fearing touching something that somebody sneezed on.

Andrej Zito 

Those were the positive things. What do you think is wrong with our industry?

Michael Souto 

What is wrong? Okay, so I think that what is wrong could be shysters. But then there’s every single industry, but people who say that they’re translators for a certain language, and aren’t people that say, Yes, I’ve done these games, and I’m fully fully versed in this and this, and they haven’t. And But yeah, I mean, you’re never gonna get rid of shysters. But it would be great to give those because they’re really super annoying. And I think people who do translations, but actually give it to their friends to do and don’t do it themselves. That’s very naughty as well. I’d like that to end is kind of like wow, this, this text is really poor. How is this text so poor? Then I have to give it to my friends like Well, okay, we’ve stopped working now. Thank you very much for that. So So yeah, and you know, we’ve had we have MBAs in place and all this kind of stuff. It’s like, wow, what are you doing? Okay, so there’s that the social shysters and dodginess, get rid of that. But worried about stuff. I mean, so long, so long as China still keeps accepting Western games and non Chinese games into China, then the future still looks pretty rosy. That’s the key one there. But yeah, so I suppose that one of the worries is you know, are we reaching any kind of saturation point? You know, so many games games come out every single day. So many of them are derivative that you know, the actual kind of True evolution stuff, you know, regularly just gets missed because, you know, people like kind of a, it’s much three, I’m gonna play another match three game or it’s a run out like when there’s an opponent the runner, but it’s a any kind of innovation, is that just getting missed? And that’s what I worry about as well, because I do like a bit of innovation.

Andrej Zito 

What are the things that you change your mind about?

Michael Souto 

Oh, it’s really difficult to answer because there’s like most things. So it’s rare that I then disliked them. later on. I changed my mind recently, I was drinking lager. And I decided, actually, I’ve kind of gone off lager. So I’ve moved over to more of an ale. And that was nicer. And sometimes I’ve really I’ve kind of kind of, I’ve got a pink jeans. And now I stick with the regular non pink jeans. So just something I changed my mind about

Andrej Zito 

That’s very low click off, thank you.

Michael Souto 

I think on a case on a, maybe a somewhat deep level, I think that I suppose I should, you know, maybe touch on the whole kind of George Floyd stuff, and how you kind of, you know, when you can have, because there’s been far more kind of interaction far more kind of observation on, you know, what, as a white person, I should be paying far more attention than before what understanding, you know, what exactly do black people go through, you know, and actually kind of trying to kind of read more trying to, you know, watch more trying to kind of, kind of immerse myself more in how lucky as a white person I have it. So I think that, you know, that’s something I’ve certainly changed my mind about, because I know lots and lots of black people. And those black people are just, they’re just mates of mine who have black people. And it’s like, okay, that’s what they are, that’s been done. But I’d never really think about how harder much harder they’ve had to work to be kind of it, you know, it within my producer group, or whatever, you know, say might be like a ream of people, how much harder they’ve had to work. You know, what kind of, you know, I never really thought about my black mates having, you know, being stopped by the police in their cars and things like that, you kind of you kind of think, well, it because it doesn’t really happen to me. Yes. So I assume it doesn’t happen to other people. And then all sudden, your eyes are opened into actually, it happens, loads, absolutely stupid amounts. And you know, and so you start going, Well, I’m going to watch 13th, I’m going to watch. And you know, when they see us, I’m going to kind of watch this, I’m going to read more on it. And you kind of just as you’re reading it, you’re kind of going, this is just insane. So I’ve really kind of changed my mind. This is something this is going back to your question about kind of what I’ve changed my kind of view on is, you know, I’ve changed my view on how, you know, I didn’t think I was so lucky. But now I’ve changed my view to realize Actually, I’m tremendously lucky. So I’ve actually, that’s not really very valid. I’ve always thought I was lucky because I’ve always really loved my job. And there’s loads of people out there that hate their jobs. And so I always thought that I was very lucky doing what I’m doing. But I didn’t realize I was like how lucky I was in terms of, of actual race to be where I am today. So you know, it’s kind of like, sorry, how lucky? No, you can kind of de jumble what I meant by that. But, but yeah, so I do feel tremendously lucky, Ben and, and it’s kind of it’s just, you know, it’s just, you know, highlighting kind of how, you know, how there’s such a complete kind of, you know, an unjust kind of structure in place at the moment and that and has been for many, many years, and I think may change may change. So, yeah, so just to leave it on that. Rather buzzkill a note, but I feel an important one, and it just, it just makes me mad. No, this could be a whole kind of thing just on that.

Andrej Zito 

Yes. let’s try to bring the bus back.

Michael Souto 

Okay, let’s do that.

Andrej Zito 

What are the absurd or stupid things that you do? And something not related to alcohol or

Michael Souto 

Ah well, in that case? Lovely talking to you. The, Okay, stupid things.

Andrej Zito 

Do you have any crazy weird routine? Maybe you do at work or always like, Hey, Mike, like what the fuck are you doing? Like, hey, that’s me.

Michael Souto 

Ah, no, I do. That. Figures. Yeah, routine wise. I mean, I’d like to. I mean, I’ve got tons of like, things like an OCD type things. So you So let’s I mean, there’s too many to list there, you know, I like things to be done in a certain way, I like to have my dishwasher set up in a certain way that nobody else can understand.

Andrej Zito 

Please explain let’s let’s talk about dishwasher,

Michael Souto 

For example. So in my dishwasher, right, so, if I have, oh my god, I can’t believe I’m talking about this. So, so all the plates should be ordered, in in, in terms of size, right in terms of diameter, or circumference. So big plates should start on the far left. And then they get progressively smaller as you go in. If you have a big plate, and then a small plate, then a big plate and a small plate and a big plate of a small bit, or a bowl, or a spatula, it’s kind of like you’re stopping water from hitting all the surfaces that it needs to hit, if you haven’t put a glass in, and the glass is just rattling around, but it’s not actually been kind of kind of pushed into like a, you know, we got that kind of thing. If it’s not being pushed in properly, then it’s just gonna rebel about Yeah, and it’s not gonna wash properly. So it needs to be, it needs to be rigid, so the water can circulate properly, and clean the thing properly. So anyway, so that’s the kind of dishwasher but it never gets sorted out properly in my house ever gets sorted out properly. So I always have my God. And they’re always going, Oh, who cares? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So that makes me mad. And then it’s just things like, you know, putting the top on the teeth, I mean, turning off lights, all this kind of stuff. But that’s I don’t think those things are crazy. That’s the, you’re asking me to say about things that are unusual or crazy or different. But I don’t feel that they are unusual, crazy or different. I find that I find that other people think they are, but I don’t think they are I think that absolutely spot on. And if you don’t think that they’re spot on, there’s something wrong with you. So that’s where I come from, is that I’ve got a ton of these things where I’m kind of like, you know what, I want to use my towel, please don’t use my towel. And but this is like a crazy thing. It’s like, Hey, you know, towel was a free for all. It’s like, No, I want to use my towel. Because I don’t want to be dabbing whatever on my face that you’ve just used it for. But as soon as I come back into the shower room, there’s my towel. It’s all wet. Should be wet. Should be dry. There you go. I’m sure. Bill enjoy watching this show. Dad, why did you have to say everything?

Andrej Zito 

How many kids you have?

Michael Souto 

I have two. I have a 17 and a 16 year old I actually took him to Gamescom two years ago. And he was so bored out of his mind. I thought it’d be like, Yeah, I thought it’d be like Disney World for him. And he was just going on as the queues are too long. Yeah. My feet hurt. He’s gonna go oh, my God brought you out here the games calm. And that was disappointing. So anyway, I expected a lot more kind of fun and enjoyment from that one. But no. Do you get it?

Andrej Zito 

Does he play games?

Michael Souto 

Yes, he loves games. Yeah, he plays them all the time. I think he’s playing at the moment. Everything is he’s at the moment. He’s he’s got like a big kind of Co Op thing happening with the terraria. That’s a bit of a favorite of his

Andrej Zito 

Why is everybody playing terrariathese days? I even installed myself.

Michael Souto 

Did you really?

Andrej Zito 

Oh, yeah. I think they made like a final update. And they actually reached the point where they say, no more drips, as you call

Michael Souto 

Really?

Andrej Zito 

I think so. Yeah. It’s like, well, I don’t think

Michael Souto 

what was the update called last night? Last Resort something.

Andrej Zito 

Something with L? Yeah. I don’t know. Whatever. Yeah.

Michael Souto 

Anyway, so yeah, so he’s playing that. So he regularly plays whatever. But it’s just recently he’s been playing to area because of this update.

Andrej Zito 

Is there anything I should have asked you, but I didn’t?

Michael Souto 

Is there any more alcohol based questions? How can I actually So one question could just simply be How can I work with locals direct. So you can go to our website, you can you can fill in a form on there for a translator rolls on now. It might be unrolled in there too. Because our website lucullus direct COMM And then you can sign up there you can then tell us about all the different games you like playing and tell us all the kind of things you don’t like playing so he won’t give you those ones and fill it all in and then we’ll go through. If you want to beat a trial for Gridley, then you can fill in a form on there too. That’s it for me.

Andrej Zito 

Not yet. Not yet. One thing

Michael Souto 

No,

Andrej Zito 

Yes. So final few words from you, Michael, if you could talk to the minds of everyone in the localization or gaming localization industry, right. What would you tell them?

Michael Souto 

I would tell them that if you are having a DRAM buey shot, make sure that the liquid doesn’t go down the sides here because when you light it Then this will go up. And it won’t be very nice at all. Now, I would say that localization should not be seen as this kind of pain in the ass part of the process. In many instances, you’ll find that localization will dramatically not only increased sales in that territory, you could make those sales in that in that territory, even higher than other territories that you that that you’ve thought were going to be the winners for you look at language proficiency in English language proficiency in each of those, if you’re working from English source. And then just prepare just, I think too many people are just kind of going, Oh, how difficult can it be? I’ll send them an Excel file, and then they’ll send me one back, Bish, bash, Bosh won’t take long, and it just doesn’t work like that. So to all of you out there, considering going out to do localization and getting your game localized, take the time, take the time, make sure it’s prepared. speak to someone like me speak to someone like whoever it is, obviously, related to localization. Don’t just speak to like your refuse collector about it. So yes, so prepare. I think that’s the key here. Prepare, don’t make the same mistakes. Speak to a an expert.

Andrej Zito 

Thank you so much. This was a lot of fun, Michael, thank you again, for being part of the podcast.

Michael Souto 

Always a pleasure. Please feel free to edit out all the stuff about alcohol.

Andrej Zito 

Maybe not, maybe not. I like

Michael Souto 

Right. I’m gonna go and get banned. No,

Andrej Zito 

Of course you are. Thanks again. Bye bye.

Michael Souto 

Bye bye.

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